June 05, 2011; Houston, TX, USA; Baylor Bears infielder Steve DalPorto (2) attempts to field a ground ball against the California Golden Bears during the first inning of game six of the Houston regional of the 2011 NCAA baseball tournament at Reckling Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor Edges Oklahoma As Big 12 Baseball Race Tightens At Top


Big 12 Conference leader Oklahomapushed across its only run in the visitor’s half of the ninth inning to tie the score Friday night at Baylor. Sooner reliever Jake Fisher couldn’t hold off the Bears in the bottom half of the inning, however, yielding a game-winning walk-off home run to the first batter he faced, sending the Sooners to their third defeat in Big 12 play to go with seven victories.

Left-handed hitting senior first-baseman Cal Towey greeted Fisher with a long ball that cleared the right-field fence and handed OU its first kiss in a season opener this season. The Sooners had won the opening game in nine straight series before Friday night’s loss. Baylor improved to 6-3 in league play and 18-16 overall, and now trails the first-place Sooners by just a half game with two more games to play in the series. It was the fourth straight win for the Bears, all at home in Waco.

The loss spoiled another brilliant pitching outing for Sooner ace Jonathan Gray, who gave up one run on just four hits and struck out 10 Bears in eight complete innings. It was the fourth time this season that the right-handed Friday starter in the Sooners’ rotation has gone at least eight innings. After yielding a single run in the opening iunning, Gray settled down and retired 16 consecutive Baylor hitters.

Gray’s performance was matched by Baylor junior right-hander Dillon Newman, who give up six hits in 8 1/3 innings of work.

The Sooners are very familiar with walk-off wins. They’ve won seven games this year in the same fashion. This is the second time they have been on the losing end of a game ending in a walk-off win.

In other Big 12 games on Friday, Kansas State, tied with Baylor in second place in the conference standings, lost a nonconferenxe game at Iowa by a 6-1 score. TCU moved out of last place in the league standings with a 2-0 shutout over visiting Oklahoma State, Kansas took the opener of its series with Texas, 7-6, and West Virginia downed Liberty 8-0.

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