OU baseball: Sooners win twice, advance to Super Regional at South Carolina
OU will face the two-time defending national champions. South Carolina has won an NCAA-record 19 consecutive postseason games. The Sooners were the last team to beat the Gamecocks, in 2010.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Big-name pitching kept Oklahoma’s baseball team alive all weekend, but it was a little-known infielder who stepped on the mound Monday and sent the Sooners to South Carolina.
Drew Harrison, a junior who had only pitched 91/3 innings in his career, turned in six solid innings in a 5-2 win over Appalachian State in an NCAA regional tournament elimination game. Combined with a 14-6 victory against the Mountaineers earlier in the day, the Sooners are now one step away from the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
OU coach Sunny Golloway embraced Harrison after the game, calling the win a validation of a decision Harrison made two years ago. After being recruited as a highly touted first baseman, he struggled to crack the OU lineup. Golloway offered him a release to any school in the country, but Harrison opted to stick it out in Norman.
After suffering a broken thumb on his non-throwing hand earlier this year, Harrison moved from first base to the mound, where he spent most of the year in the bullpen before his big night Monday.
“He’s a big-time competitor, and he wants the ball,” Sooners shortstop Caleb Bushyhead said. “The guys were really excited to have him pitch. He’s a good team player, and everybody likes him a lot.”
A Saturday loss to Appalachian State meant the Sooners (42-23) had to win out through the losers’ bracket, ultimately going 4-1 in the double-elimination tournament.
After taking the first two games off, the Sooners’ bats stole the show on Monday. The early game featured four innings with at least three runs, including home runs from Cody Reine and Garrett Carey.
Designated hitter Matt Oberste kickstarted the big innings with a double in the sixth, sliding into second and making a butterfly motion toward the bench – the insect has become a good-luck sign for OU.
Oberste finished the regional tournament 9-for-18 and was named the regional’s Most Oustanding Player.
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