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OU can preserve Big 12's dignity with win tonight

by Berry Tramel Published: June 5, 2006
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Now the Sooners have won three straight and found some lightning sticks along the way. They hit five homers total Sunday and scored 27 runs in routing TCU and Wichita State.

Plus, karma is on OU's side. Since the NCAA went to its current playoff format in 1999, the Wheatshockers twice have lost regional finals after 2-0 starts -- at home to OSU in '99 and at Arkansas in '04.

Both times, WSU lost doubleheaders. Now, at least, it gets a night's sleep.

"It's tough to come back within 30-40 minutes," WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. "Now we get a chance to reassess. Tomorrow's a new day."

Despite the Scarlett O'Hara theory, the pressure seems squarely on the Shockers and their public-enemy No. 1 coach. Stephenson, who again was roundly booed for bailing on the OU job last June, held the winning hand when Sunday began.

Now, momentum wears crimson.

Golloway credits toughness. The pros' big money has sucked much of the talent from college baseball. Parity has risen, which is how the Jaspers of Manhattan and the Dons of San Francisco can beat Nebraska.

In such a landscape, grit goes a long way.

"Our guys, we're tough on 'em," Golloway said, referring even to laid-back autumn. "The game's gone to toughness."

That certainly was necessary Sunday, when the Sooners had to play 18 innings against teams they were combined 2-3 against this season.

Now OU only has to play nine. Nine innings to save face for Big 12 baseball.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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