NORMAN, Okla. – Baylor baseball lost a 4-3 decision to Oklahoma in heartbreaking fashion on Friday evening at Mitchell Park in the series opener. The Bears (15-15, 3-4) were clinging to a 3-2 lead until the Sooners (16-14, 3-4) scored in the eighth and ninth innings for a walk-off win.
BU caught a break in the first inning after a Steven McLean leadoff single and Richard Cunningham sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Darryn Sheppard hit a fly ball to the left-center gap and it was dropped by the center fielder to allow McLean to score.
In the fourth, the Bears opened up a 3-0 lead after a two-out single by Aaron Dodson and two-run home run by Matt Menard. However, OU countered with a two-run homer in the bottom half off the bat of Hunter Haley to keep it a one-run Baylor lead, 3-2.
In the eighth, Steele Walker led off with a routine fly ball to right field but it was lost in the lights for a double. After a sac bunt error at third base and walk, Alex Wise hit a sac fly to tie the game, 3-3.
Baylor had a good chance in the ninth but didn’t come away with a run. Dodson led off with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Menard. After a pitching change, walk and wild pitch had runners on the corners with one out, a strikeout and fly out ended the threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, OU’s Sheldon Neuse led off with a single and Jack Flansburg drew a walk. Pinch-hitter Renae Martinez then laid down a sac bunt but it was thrown away by reliever Joe Heineman down the right field line to allow the winning run to score.
OU reliever Neuse (2-1) earned the win, giving up a walk with one strikeout in 0.2 innings. Heineman (2-2) took the loss, allowing two runs (both unearned) on two hits and two walks with one strikeout in one-plus innings.
*Baylor has won seven of its last 10 games but had its four-game winning streak snapped.
*Baylor trails the all-time series vs. Oklahoma 43-41 and 24-9 in Norman – the Bears are 0-1 in the series under Steve Rodriguez.
*Baylor has won 11 of the 19 Big 12 series vs. Oklahoma, including the last three.
*Baylor has won three of its six three-game series in 2016 and 24 of 50 since 2012.
*Baylor is 3-5 on the road in 2016.
*Baylor has scored at least one run in the first inning 12 times in 30 games and has scored 26 first-inning runs in 2016.
*Steven McLean has a career-high 16-game on-base streak and career-high 10-game hitting streak.
*Richard Cunningham has a career-high 14-game on-base streak and three-game hitting streak.
*Matt Menard has a career-high-tying eight-game on-base streak and career-high five-game hitting streak as he launched his second home run of the season and of his career – he posted his second multi-RBI game of the season.
*Kameron Esthay has a six-game hitting streak.
*Aaron Dodson had his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
*Justin Arrington has a career-high-tying seven-game hitting streak.
*T.J. Raguse’s career-high nine-game on-base streak ended.
*Josh Bissonette has a career-high 14-game on-base streak.
STAT OF THE GAME
2 – The amount of home runs Matt Menard has this year – he entered the season with no homer in 96 career games.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“Credit them – they put us in position to make some tough plays and we didn’t make them. We have to execute better. We were our own demise tonight. We had some chances and threw the ball around and let them back in the game. We competed well at the plate but just made too many mistakes.” – Baylor Head Coach Steve Rodriguez
Baylor continues its road series vs. Oklahoma with a 5 p.m. CT game Saturday and 1 p.m. finale Sunday on FOX College Sports Central. The pitching matchups feature BU RHP Drew Tolson (3-1, 4.12 ERA) vs. OU RHP Ryan Madden (1-1, 2.55 ERA) Saturday and BU RHP Kyle Hill (1-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. OU RHP Jake Elliott (0-0, 4.88 ERA) Sunday.