OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Here is a recap of all of the action from Day 3 of the Big XII Baseball Tournament at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
#7 Kansas St. 2
#3 Nebraska 5
Johnny Dorn did not allow an earned run over 6.2 innings, while Jake Opitz had three hits and drove in three runs, leading seventhranked Nebraska to a 5-2 victory over Kansas State Friday night in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Dorn upped his record to 6-1 on the season, scattering seven hits and fanning three, as he collected his first win in five starts dating back to April 18.
Dorn, who has 37 career wins, battled throughout the night before leaving in the seventh, holding KSU hitless with runners in scoring position. The senior right-hander he has now allowed two runs or less in 11 of his 14 starts this season.
Zach Herr closed the door for Dorn and the Huskers, fanning six over 2.1 innings of relief for his fifth save, getting out of a two-on, twoout jam in the seventh by striking out Rob Vaughn before allowing one hit over the final two frames.
Opitz led the offensive charge, going 3-for-3 on the night, including a two-run homer in the seventh that gave Nebraska a 5-2 lead. Jake Mort also had three hits and scored twice for the Huskers, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
The win upped Nebraska’s record to 40-13-1 and kept the Huskers alive for a berth in Sunday’s title game. NU needs to beat sixthranked Oklahoma State on Saturday and some additional help to reach its seventh Big 12 title game since 1999.
Nebraska struck for a pair of runs in the top of third on an RBI double by Opitz and a sacrifice fly from Mitch Abeita. One-out singles from Bryce Nimmo and Mort got the rally started before Opitz drove in the Huskers’ first run with a double to right. Abeita then made it 2-0 moments later, scoring Mort with a fly ball to right.
Kansas State came back in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of a costly miscue by Mort to plate a pair of unearned runs. A one-out single by Drew Biery and a double by Vaughn two batters put runners on second and third. Dane Yelovich hit a grounder that underneath Mort’s glove, allowing both runners to score. The Wildcats continued to threaten, loading the bases, but Dorn struck out Nate Tenbrink to end the threat.
The Huskers put together a two-out rally in the top of the fifth, regaining the lead at 3-2 on a RBI single by Tyler Farst off of reliever Todd Vogel. Opitz chased KSU starter Chase Bayuk with a two-out single before Abeita greeted Vogel with a single to put runners on the corners. Farst gave the Huskers a 3-2 lead, sending an 0-1 pitch from Vogel into center to score Opitz.
Bayuk (1-5) took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits over 4.2 innings as KSU fell to 28-28 on the season.
Nebraska got some much-needed breathing room in the top of the seventh, as Opitz capped his three-hit day with his eighth round tripper of the season off of Thomas Rooke to extend the margin to 5-2.
Oklahoma State snapped a nine-game losing streak at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship with a 14-3 run-rule win over Baylor in seven innings Friday night at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
With the victory, the No. 6 Cowboys improved to 41-16 on the season. They will advance to Sunday’s tournament championship game if they defeat Nebraska and Kansas State loses to Baylor on Saturday.
Rebel Ridling led the Cowboys’ 18-hit attack against Baylor as the senior first baseman collected a season-high six RBIs with a 3-for-4
night that included a pair of home runs. Ridling’s six RBIs tied a Big 12 Championship record.
Luis Flores and Matt Hague also had big offensive nights, with each collecting three RBIs, while Donnie Webb was 4-for-5 at the plate.
OSU’s 14 runs, which is the most the Cowboys have scored in the conference tournament since they racked up 17 against Iowa State in 2001, was more than enough run support for starter Andrew Oliver.
Oliver, a sophomore southpaw, set a career high with 11 strikeouts and improved to 7-2 this season. He worked 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits.
The Cowboys got on the scoreboard in their first at bat, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Back-to-back singles by Webb and Jordy
Mercer started the inning, and Dean Green brought home a run with an RBI groundout.
Baylor (32-25) tied the score in the second on an RBI bunt single by Gregg Glime and threatened to take the lead after loading the bases with one out. But Oliver struck out Raynor Campbell and got Beamer Weems to fly out to end the inning.
The game would not be tied for long as the Cowboys rallied for six runs on seven hits in the top of the third.
Again it was Webb getting things started with a single, and after Mercer was hit by a pitch, Hague stepped to the plate and snapped the
tie with his 10th home run of the season, a three-run blast over the wall in left field.
After a double by Green, OSU added to its lead via the long ball once again as Ridling delivered an opposite-field shot to right-center field to make the score 6-1. The round tripper was Ridling’s 17th of the season.
OSU’s final run in the inning came on Webb’s second hit of the frame, an RBI single that put the Cowboys up by a 7-1 count.