ARLINGTON, TX – Let the good times roll.
After finishing the regular season playing their best baseball of the year with five straight series wins, Oklahoma looked to continue the momentum into postseason play in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament against West Virginia.
The No. 3-seeded Sooners would do just that, downing the No. 6-seeded Mountaineers 6-4 on Wednesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX.
In an effort to keep the starting rotation on regular rest, Skip Johnson used reliever Carson Atwood as the starting pitcher for the first time in his career.
It wasn’t obvious with the way he pitched, though, as Atwood was superb on Wednesday tossing three scoreless innings allowing just a single hit.
"He's (Atwood) thrown out of the pen most of the time, (but) all summer long he started last year," Johnson said. "So we didn't really question if he could do it or not. We knew he could do it and he was going to throw strikes and be really competitive."
Oklahoma got the scoring started in emphatic fashion in the second inning putting up a big crooked number.
After John Spikerman singled in a run to put OU in front, Peyton Graham connected on a rocket grand slam to left center to have the Sooners quickly leading 5-0.
The home run was Graham's fourth at Globe Life Field this season alone.
"The ball is pretty easy to see here," Graham said postgame. "The lights are great. So you get to see the ball a long time...it's pretty nice here."
The score remained there into the fourth, when Tanner Tredaway tacked on a run with a hard hit single to center to plate Blake Robertson from second base. OU led 6-0 after four.
Tredaway finished his day 4-for-5 at the plate.
"The biggest thing for me is hitting good pitches," Tredaway said postgame. "This last month, I've really zoned in and been able to do a really good job at the plate."
After Atwood exited the game after three innings, Carter Campbell and Chazz Martinez teamed up to work the next five frames with both pitching very well in their own right.
Campbell worked two shutout innings allowing three hits and striking out one with Martinez tossing the next three allowing just a single run and striking out three.
In the ninth, freshman right-hander Nicholas Andrews recorded two outs but allowed a solo home run to right field from West Virginia first baseman Grant Hussey and an infield single that knocked him out of the game.
Right-hander Trevin Michael then entered to get the final out and seal the OU victory, which he did, but not before allowing a two-run home run off the bat of J.J. Wetherholt that sliced the deficit to within two runs.
Nevertheless, the win improves Oklahoma to 34-20 on the year and is their first victory in the Big 12 tournament since 2018.
The victory also improves OU's mark to 6-4 this season at Globe Life Field, after previously partaking in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown and series against Northwestern State and Texas.
"I think every kid grows up wanting to play in a Major League ballpark for sure," Johnson said. "The environment is really big for us and watching those guys perform in the environment."
"We understand the environment. We got to play here. We understand the field a little bit."
The Sooners now advance to the winners bracket and a date with the No. 2 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. back at Globe Life Field in Arlington.