Bears can’t complete late comeback, drop opener against Oklahoma

Junior second baseman Josh Bissonette goes after a high fastball against the Jayhawks. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Editor

By Max Calderone | Sports Writer

The Baylor baseball team was unable to cash in on a late opportunity in game one of its three-game set against Oklahoma, losing Thursday’s opener 4-2 in Norman, Okla.

The Bears left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning after junior outfielder Cole Haring and senior utility man Tucker Johnson came up empty with back-to-back strikeouts.

Baylor moves to 13-10 on the season and drops below .500 in conference play at 3-4, while the Sooners improve to 18-10, staying perfect in Big 12 play at 4-0.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Cody Bradford was scratched from his scheduled start after tweaking his groin in practice Wednesday night. He is considered to be day-to-day and is expected to make his next scheduled start next week at Texas.

In Bradford’s place, junior right-hander Kyle Hill took the mound and surrendered early damage as OU’s junior right fielder Cade Harris led off the game with a single and came around to score on redshirt sophomore center fielder Kyler Murray’s two-out single.

The Sooners added on in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a double from sophomore catcher Brady Lindsly that scored Murray to make it 2-0. Hill was chased after allowing another run in the bottom of the fourth, this time coming off an RBI single by sophomore shortstop Brandon Zaragoza.

The Bears’ first hit didn’t come until the top of the sixth inning when freshman left fielder Nick Loftin doubled in freshman right fielder Davion Downey to pull Baylor within two runs.

Oklahoma answered right back though, scoring in the bottom of the sixth off a Harris RBI base knock to go up 4-1.

After a scoreless seventh, Haring began Baylor’s half of the eighth inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Tucker Cascadden. Senior righty Drew Robertson worked a one-two-three bottom half and sent the Bears back up to the plate chasing two runs.

Redshirt junior outfielder Richard Cunningham was hit by a pitch to begin the ninth inning and advanced to second base on a single by sophomore third baseman Davis Wendzel. Sophomore first baseman Andy Thomas followed that with a single of his own, loading the bases for Baylor with just one out.

Oklahoma’s junior right-hander Austin Hansen caught Haring looking on a full count pitch for the second out of the inning and then sophomore lefty Braidyn Fink came on to face the pinch-hitter Johnson. Fink got Johnson to swing through strike three to end the ballgame and clinch the victory for the Sooners.

The two teams will be back in action Friday for game two with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The series will conclude Saturday with a 4 p.m. start time for game three.