Gage Green keeps finding himself at the center of Bedlam drama.
And thriving in the spotlight.
Saturday, it was a daring steal of home, with Green sprinting to the plate with what would become the winning run, before Oklahoma State held on to beat Oklahoma 4-3 before 7,108 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
With the win, the Cowboys clinch the series and go for the sweep Sunday. First pitch is 1 p.m. at The Brick.
In Friday night’s opener win in Tulsa, Green delivered three hits, subbed at catcher — turning in a spotless effort behind the plate — and drove in the game-winner. Last year, in OSU's series-clinching Game 3 win, he entered as a defensive replacement and made a running catch of a ninth-inning drive that carried him into the fence in left-center field.
Outside of Bedlam, Green has been solid, yet unspectacular.
But when the Sooners are on the other side, Green turns golden.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’m glad I can be in a position where I can contribute to the team and help win.”
Green didn’t just help, he stamped his impression on the game and the series, with OSU prevailing on a day when the Sooners had ace Jonathan Gray going and heavy incentive to right a late-season slump.
Working Gray deep into counts, Green and his teammates struck for an early lead on the Sooner right-hander and forced him out of the game after five innings and 109 pitches. The Cowboys led 2-0 after two innings and 3-0 through five, before OU cut the lead with two runs in the sixth.
It was still 3-2 into the eighth, when Green drilled a leadoff double into right-center field that was misplayed by OU’s Chris Akin, allowing Green to advance to third. But the Cowboy left fielder was still at third two outs later.
The Sooners brought on freshman left-hander Jacob Evans to face the left-handed hitting Saulyer Saxon, prompting the possibility of sending Green on the steal. Cowboys coach Josh Holliday and third base coach Marty Lees talked about timing Evans’ delivery for an optimum jump.
And when Saxon fell into an 0-2 hole, Lees told Green to take off on the next pitch.
“Once Coach Lees told me to be going on that pitch, my heart was going about 100 mph,” Green said. “I’ve never done that. It was an awesome experience.”
With Green racing for home, Evans rushed his delivery, then sailed his pitch high over catcher Anthony Hermelyn’s head.
“The most interesting thing of that is there’s two strikes,” said OU coach Sunny Golloway. “You don’t have to rush, you just throw a strike. They’re forced to swing at it with a guy trying to steal home. He’d have had him by several steps.
“I’m not sure why they called it, but their risk was evidently to get it thrown away, because the ball was clearly going to beat him by three or four steps. You can do those things when you have the lead.”
The Cowboys had the lead, yet wanted more. And they’d need more, since the Sooners scored a run in their half of the eighth.
“You have to try to be in the moment as much as you can,” Holliday said. “After a lineout, strikeout … the dynamic of that mentality is that (the opponent) starts to feel like they are starting to weave their way out of it.
“That guy has a really good breaking ball and it was a tough matchup for Saul. But you watch film all week long and study your opponent so you can understand situations as they may arise. You look for pickup moves and times to the plate.
“We had the right guy at third base at that moment to put the play in action. We saw it. We knew it was our time to do it. We took, I thought, a shot at a good play.”
Great play, if it works.
And so far in this series, everything seems to be working for the Cowboys.
OSU improved to 36-12 overall and 11-8 in the Big 12, moving past the Sooners into third place in the league standings. OU fell to 34-16 and 11-9, dropping its fourth straight conference game and falling into a fourth-place tie with Baylor.
“A sweep would be great for the Big 12 standings,” said OSU closer Brendan McCurry, who earned his seventh save with 2 2/3 innings of relief. “Putting them one more down would be exactly where we would need to be.”