Big 12 baseball: Sooners beat Baylor, advance to championship game

Oklahoma needed none of its previous Big 12 Tournament drama Saturday, no ninth-inning magic acts.
by John Helsley Modified: May 26, 2012 at 11:56 am •  Published: May 26, 2012
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Exactly three weeks ago, the Sooners sat at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark confronting a sinking feeling and all but conceding a place on the outside of postseason play.

Their last gasp at hope: beating Baylor in a weekend series in Norman.

Oklahoma beat the Bears good, sweeping that weekend, and Saturday ran their winning streak against Baylor since to five games, continuing a late-season rally with a 7-2 win that sends OU into Sunday's Big 12 Tournament title game.

“We had some pressure on us,” said Sooners pitcher Jonathan Gray, dominant on the mound as the starter and winner in the latest beat down of the Bears. “But after the Baylor series, everything's coming together. I feel pretty confident.”

Suddenly, the Sooners are surging, playing for their first conference championship since winning the Big 12's inaugural event in 1997. They face surprising Missouri, the No. 7 seed, at 1 p.m. for the championship.

And those NCAA Tournament hopes? Secure.

Even soaring, with a spot in a regional somewhere as a No. 2 seed now likely.

“A two seed? We should be hosting,” Sooners coach Sunny Golloway said, perhaps only half-joking.

Yet seriously, the Sooners are clearly on the upswing, winning 22 of their last 29 games and climbing to No. 28 in the projected RPI at warrennolan.com, after sitting in the high 60s following a Bedlam series loss at The Brick three weekends ago.

“We knew that if we could get all the pieces put together, we might have something special,” Golloway said Saturday. “After the Baylor series, we felt we had something special.

“We're playing good baseball right now. We have one more game to go in this tournament, which will be a big one. Our guys know what's at stake.”

No longer sweating the postseason, the Sooners can relax and focus on winning a Big 12 title that has been elusive since rallying through the loser's bracket to beat Texas Tech 19-17 in a slugfest 15 years ago.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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