The Big 12 baseball race got an extra-crank tighter over the weekend as Kansasand Baylor took two of three against Oklahoma State and West Virginia, respectively, and Kansas State swept its three-game home series with Texas Tech.
While the league standings got even more bunched up in the middle, conference leader and 12th-ranked Oklahoma (27-6) managed to get out of Austin, Texas, with two wins over Red River archrival Texas to hold on to first place in the conference with a 7-2 league mark. In capturing the series with the Longhorns (17-13, 3-6), the Sooners snapped a 15-year skid of not winning a series against its hated Lone Star State rival since 1998, and it had been 16 years since OU last won a series in Austin.
The Sooners only scored six runs in three games, as the pitchers from both teams dominated the weekend series. Texas scored just three times in the three games. Oklahoma won the opener on Friday 2-1 behind ace right-hander Jonathan Gray, but Texas came back on Saturday, shutting down the OU bats in preserving a 1-0 victory. Sunday’s game was an offensive show, compared with the previous two days, with Oklahoma producing a three-run eighth to take the rubber game in the series, 4-2. The three-run outburst in the eighth frame came against Texas closer Corey Knebel, one of the country’s top relief pitchers.
“Their pitching was outstanding,” said OU coach Sunny Golloway. “it was going to be about scratching out runs, and we knew that.”
Kansas State scored six runs in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game with Texas Tech, which triggered the run rule, ending the shortened contest with a 12-2 K-
State win an a three-game sweep of the Red Raiders. The Wildcats’ finished off a five-victory week that raised their season record to 23-10 and 6-3 in the Big 12, one game back of Oklahoma.
“It was a good week of baseball for us,” Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. “It was a good offensive weekend. “Our nemesis has been trying to drive in runs. We did a much better jog of that.”
The Wildcats’ scored 15 runs on Saturday and 33 over the three games with the Red Raiders.
Kansas jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first inning on Sunday and then held off the 18th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys 3-2 to take two of three from OSU. The Jayhawks improved to 18-12 for the season and 5-4 in conference play to move a half-game in front of the Cowboys in fourth place in the league standings. The 5-4 start against conference foes is the Jayhawks’ best start since the 2009 season. Kansas is now 3-3 this season against ranked opponents.
After dropping the first game of the series to West Virginia, Baylor won both games over the weekend by the combined score of 19-1 to remain just a game back of the Sooners in third place. Baylor is 5-3 in league play, but just 16-16 for the year. The Bears have an important three-game home series this weekend against the Sooners, the featured series in the conference this week.
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