Turley’s strong start not enough against Oklahoma
By Chris Derrett
Baylor sophomore Josh Turley turned in a strong performance on the mound Friday night, but it was not enough following Oklahoma’s ninth-inning comeback as the Sooners topped the Bears, 5-4.
Turley used his 12th start of the season to throw eight innings, giving up his only runs on a three-run home run and striking out a career-high nine batters. He handed the ball to sophomore reliever Max Garner, who could not close the game.
Garner started the ninth with a strikeout but then allowed two singles, a double and a sacrifice fly to suffer his first blown save of the season.
After the game, coach Steve Smith could only tell Garner and the team to flush Friday’s loss from their memories.
“I know tonight that [Garner] might be the one guy that will hurt more than me. This will hurt him, and that will only make him better,” Smith said.
The loss spoiled a stellar outing from Turley, who has collected five no decisions and three quality starts that went as losses on the season.
Turley’s only tough inning Friday was the fourth. After conceding a leadoff single and a walk, he hung a first-pitch breaking ball to Garrett Buechele, and Buechele sent it over the left field wall for a 3-0 Oklahoma advantage.
From there Turley retired 13 of his final 14 hitters, including three-up-three-down innings in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. His sixth inning took four pitches, and struck out the side in the seventh.
“Most of the strikeouts came on change-ups, which is my best pitch,” Turley said. “They were just swinging over it. And I was just trying to keep them off-balance, like I always do. I felt really good, for the most part.”
The Bears fought back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior Joey Hainsfurther netted his second RBI of the weekend, singling up the middle to score sophomore Logan Vick. Sophomore Jake Miller then blasted his second home run of the series, a two-run shot to left field, to tie the game at three apiece.
“I’m just looking to see the ball up. We knew the starting pitcher tonight threw a lot of fastballs. He didn’t show a breaking ball to me today,” Miller said.
Baylor took a 4-3 lead in the seventh when junior Josh Ludy’s sacrifice fly plated senior Chris Slater, who reached on a double earlier in the inning.
With Turley cruising at 102 pitches after eight innings, Smith said the decision to pull him wasn’t easy. But with Ricky Eisenberg, Tyler Ogle and Cameron Seitzer due up, followed by Buechele, Smith felt Garner was the better choice.
“Eisenberg had hit [Turley] hard twice. Ogle’s a good player; I wasn’t fixing to let [Turley] see him for a fourth time. Buechele hit the ball out of the park,” Smith said. “None of those guys faced [Garner] yesterday, and he threw less than 20 pitches yesterday.”
Although he wanted to finish the game, Turley listened and understood Smith’s explanation.
“Coach explained it to me. ‘We’re at 2-3-4 in the lineup, you’re at 102 pitches, you are tired. I would love to send you back out there, but Max can get the job done.’”
The Bears still have a chance to take the series with a 3 p.m. rubber match against the Sooners on Saturday.
“I think going into the weekend if you said you were going into Sunday with a chance to win the series, I think I would have taken it,” Smith said.