Oklahoma’s Cody Reine stood at second base at 1:13 a.m. Thursday, arms raised toward the sky like Rocky Balboa.
And why not? He’d just delivered a haymaker to the Kansas Jayhawks, drilling a two-run double to the base of the wall in center field, rallying the Sooners to a 3-2 win in an opener of the Big 12 Tournament.
Not just any ninth-inning rally, but a third straight in five days over Kansas, a club that came to Oklahoma City seeking wins to build a case for inclusion in an NCAA Regional.
“It was a great feeling,” said Reine, the Sooners’ right fielder, “to be able to know that we came behind, yet again, a third straight game. It was just a great feeling.”
OU, the No. 2 seed looking to land a regional host role, improved to 43-14 overall. The Sooners next play Friday, facing Baylor at 7:30 p.m.
The Sooners entered the tournament on a roll padded with a three-game sweep at Kansas. They won the final two games in Lawrence in dramatic fashion, battering Jayhawks relievers for ninth-inning rallies.
OU never got into the bullpen Wednesday night, with KU starter T.J. Walz pitching a gem into the ninth, allowing just two hits until the ninth.
But when Garrett Buechele opened the ninth with a single to right, a special feeling started to spread through the OU dugout.
“I actually felt the momentum when (Buechele) led off the inning with a single,” Reine said. “When we get a guy on, we’re going to get him in. We’re going to work and bust our rear ends to get the guy in.”
Pinch runner Cody Ross replaced Buechele at first, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cameron Seitzer.