March 16, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. - The Texas Longhorns erased a four-run, first-inning deficit and got a two-run double from Jonathan Walsh in the 12th inning to register a 7-6 win over the No. 22 Oklahoma Sooners in the opening game of Big 12 action for both teams at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday evening.
With one out in the 12th inning, Mark Payton struck the flint with a bunt single down the first base line. Tim Maitland laced a hit back at the pitcher to put runners at first and second. With two outs, Jonathan Walsh, who earlier in the game had come to the plate with bases loaded on two occasions only to ground into an inning-ending double play and strike out, roped a double down the leftfield line to plate both runners and stake the Longhorns to a 7-5 lead.
Oklahoma (11-7, 0-1 Big 12) did not go softly into the night as Tanner Toal loft a fly ball down the leftfield line off Texas reliever Hoby Milner and the wind carried it over the fence to cut the lead to 7-6.
Texas (8-8, 1-0 Big 12) dropped the anvil on Oklahoma when Parker French entered the game and struck out Erik Ross and induced a bouncer back to the mound by Jack Mayfield to end the game.
The Sooners pounced on the Longhorns with four runs in the home half of the first inning. Ross bounced a single down the leftfield line to start the frame and Mayfield followed with a two-run home run over the leftfield fence. With one out, Evan Mistich drew a walk and Caleb Bushyhead hit a two-run home run to right centerfield to inflate the cushion to 4-0.
The Longhorns benefitted from a Sooners' error in the third inning to trim a run off the lead. Jordan Etier singled to leftfield and Payton singled up the middle to start the inning. Maitland tried to bunt the runners over, but Etier was retired at third on the fielder's choice. With two outs, both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Walsh appeared to ground out, but the Sooners' first baseman Max White was unable to handle the throw from Garrett Carey at third and Payton scored on the error to cut the lead to 4-1.
Texas trimmed another run off the lead when Erich Weiss led off the fifth inning by depositing a 1-2 offering over the rightfield fence for a solo home run trimming the margin to 4-2.
With Corey Knebel appearing headed to his fifth save of the season, Cody Reine delivered an equalizer with a solo home run to leftfield with one out in the bottom of the ninth to knot the game at 5-5.
Milner (2-3) earned the win for the Longhorns. He allowed one run on three hits and one walk while striking out two over 2.1 innings.
Nathan Thornhill bounced back from the four runs he allowed in the first to shut the Sooners down over the next 5.1 innings. He allowed four runs on four hits and one walk while striking out a career-high seven over 6.1 innings. After the four-run first inning, Thornhill retired 17 of the next 19 batters. Knebel yielded one run on three hits while striking out two over 2.2 innings.
Jordan John (3-3) was saddled with the loss. He allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out six over 6.0 innings. Dillon Overton pitched the first six innings for Oklahoma, allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits and two walks while striking out four. Both Oklahoma pitchers threw over 100 pitches on the evening.
Payton led the Longhorns at the plate going 4-for-7 with two runs scored. Etier went 3-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt. Walsh went 2-for-7 with one double and three RBI. Weiss went 2-for-5 with one double, one home run, two runs and two RBI.
The Longhorns had numerous opportunities to add to their run total, but Texas left 16 runners on base, grounded into a pair of inning-ending double plays, including one with bases loaded, and had two runners thrown out at home.
The Sooners hit four home runs on the evening and five of their 10 hits went for extra bases. Toal led Oklahoma going 3-for-5 with one home run. Ross went 2-for-6 with one run. Mayfield and Bushyhead each had two RBI.
Texas and Oklahoma return to action on Saturday with a 2 p.m., contest at L. Dale Mitchell Park.