Needing to stack victories for a move up the conference standings, Oklahoma won two of three on its trip to West Virginia this weekend.
The Sooners (24-22, 8-10 Big 12) lost the opener on Friday but bounced back to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader behind elite pitching from Braden Carmichael and clutch hitting by Jimmy Crooks, and now stand in sixth place in the Big 12 race, well ahead of West Virginia (17-23, 7-14 Big 12).
After winning just one conference series all season, the Sooners have now won back-to-back league series.
“I thought we played with a sense of urgency, and we really fought through some things we hadn’t fought through in a while there in the first game,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “We just kept playing the game and kept talking about finishing the game. Braden was really good. We swung the bats and got some timely hits when we needed to, to separate the game. We showed a sense of urgency and they were ready to play. I was really proud of (our players). It was a great thing to see for our team.”
Shortstop Brandon Zaragoza played in his 240th and 241st career games on Saturday, breaking the Oklahoma record of 239 games played, previously held by Max White (2010-13).
OU and Oklahoma State will meet for the fifth time this season on Tuesday at ONEOK Field in Tulsa for a non-conference Bedlam matchup. Game time is set for 7 p.m. on ESPNU. The Sooners host first-place Texas Tech in a Big 12 series next weekend.
WVU 7, OU 1
Wyatt Olds (3-5) struck out eight batters over 6 2/3 innings and second baseman Conor McKenna drove in the Sooners’ only run Friday at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers scored four runs in the first inning and two in the second, then added a run in the seventh.
McKenna’s RBI single came in the fourth inning. His base hit scored Crooks, who reached on an error and stole second. Left fielder Diego Muniz and catcher Justin Mitchell also singled for OU.
Beginning with the third inning, Olds retired 13 of the next 15 batters, including 10 in a row through the first out of the seventh. Ben Abram retired the final batter of the seventh inning and Javier Ramos tossed a scoreless eighth.
West Virginia’s first-inning runs came on a solo home run by left fielder Paul McIntosh and a three-run inside-the-park homer by designated hitter Nathan Blasick. In the second, catcher Matt McCormick doubled in a run and first baseman Byorick Hudson hit an RBI single.
WVU starter Jackson Wolf (4-5) struck out 11 over seven innings.
Oklahoma 8, West Virginia 7 (11 innings)
Crooks' 11th-inning homer broke a 6-6 tie in the first game after the Mountaineers tied it with a home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Jaret Godman (1-2) earned the win in relief and Luke Taggart retired the final three batters with the bases loaded to pick up his first save of the season
Taggart came in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th and retired the side on a sacrifice fly, a strikeout and a groundout.
Jason Ruffcorn turned in his longest career outing for the second straight week with 7 1/3 innings of relief and recorded seven strikeouts.
Peyton Graham led off the game with a home run to left field on the second pitch he saw. The Sooners trailed 4-1 after the first inning, but chipped away and took a 5-4 lead in the sixth on a base hit by Justin Mitchell.
McKenna hit a one-out single in the fourth inning and moved around to score on a wild pitch, then Breydon Daniel hit an RBI single that scored Kendall Pettis and cut the deficit to 4-3. In the sixth, Jace Bohrofen hit a one-out double, went to third on an error and then scored on another miscue, before Mitchell knocked his RBI single to put the Sooners in front.
OU extended its lead to 6-4 in the eighth inning when Mitchell hit a sacrifice fly to the left field wall that was nearly a three-run home run.
The game was sent to extra innings on a leadoff home run in the ninth inning by WVU's Alec Burns. Austin Davis had homered in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut OU’s lead to 6-5. Burns also hit a two-run home run as part of West Virginia’s four-run first inning.
It was Oklahoma’s fifth extra-inning game in six Big 12 conference series this season, and the Sooners’ first win.
Oklahoma 9, West Virginia 1
Carmichael pitched seven no-hit innings in the nightcap and allowed just four walks. He retired 13 straight batters from the third through seventh innings and left after an error to begin the eighth. Carson Carter relieved him for the final two frames, striking out three batters.
Carmichael (6-1) registered a career-high 10 strikeouts and exited after one batter in the top of the eighth after throwing 124 pitches.
OU carried the no-hitter into the ninth inning before it was broken up by a leadoff triple. OU scored early, with three runs in the second inning – and often, adding three runs in the fifth, two runs in the sixth and one more in the eighth.
McKenna, who tallied three hits and scored three runs on the day, had a leadoff home run in the second inning, his ninth homer of the season. Daniel drove in Justin Mitchell with an RBI double and Pettis hit a sacrifice fly to give Oklahoma a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
The Sooners tacked on three runs in the fifth to make it a 6-0 lead. Graham hit an inside-the-park home run off the center field wall – his second homer of the day and ninth of the season. Three errors produced another run, as Crooks came home on an overthrow after Tyler Hardman stole second. Hardman then scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Zaragoza.
In the sixth inning, Pettis doubled and scored on a wild pitch, and McKenna singled home Graham to extend the lead to 8-0. Hardman singled home Pettis in the eighth inning to make it 9-0.
Dominic Ragazzo hit a leadoff triple in the ninth inning that fell just out of the reach of Daniel’s glove and scored on a sacrifice fly by Victor Scott. Carter recorded two strikeouts around the sacrifice fly to close out the game.