By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Scoring with two outs in baseball is like converting third and long in football or draining a 3-point shot in basketball with the shot clock ticking. Not only is it a productive play it’s demoralizing for the opponent.
Baylor will play in Sunday’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship game because of its ability to score with two outs. The Bears’ 8-3 victory over second-seeded Oklahoma Friday night came courtesy of their clutch at bats. All of Baylor’s runs scored after two outs.
Sixth-seeded Baylor and fourth-seeded Texas A&M have clinched spots in Sunday’s 1 p.m. title game. The winner earns the Big 12 Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Bears, winners of seven in a row, will be appearing in the baseball championship game for the fifth time and will be seeking their first title. The Aggies are making their fourth title appearance; they hoisted the trophy in 2007. A&M defeated Baylor in that year’s championship game.
Baylor will look for its 1st title in 6 appearances. Texas A&M make its 4th appearance in the championship game. The Aggies won once in '07.
Oklahoma had won 16 of its last 19 but its failure to cap the third inning with a third out proved the Sooners’ downfall.
“I thought we seemed flat,” Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway said. “We just didn’t seem ourselves today. We didn’t play well.”
Trailing 1-0, Baylor put two runners on with one out. After a strikeout and hit batter loaded the bases, Raynor Campbell muscled a full-count, looping single to center fell just out of the reach of OU second baseman Danny Black. That drove in two runs and Cal Towey followed with a run-scoring single and Max Muncy’s two-run double finished off the five-run frame.
“We were relentless at the plate,” Campbell said. “We don’t need three outs to score runs. We only need one. We had guys go up there and give us quality at-bats and sometimes those things snowball. We were able to put some runs together with two outs tonight. It was big.”
The Sooners got within 5-3 on Tyler Ogle’s two-run, two-out (what else?) homer I the top of the fifth.
Baylor more than countered that in the sixth and seventh innings. Pinch hitter Josh Ludy came through with a pinch-hit, run-scoring double to left center with two outs in the sixth. In the seventh, Towey again came through. His doubled into the left-field corner with two outs (of course) to make it 8-3.
“(Saturday’s game against Kansas) may be the most fun I will ever have,” Baylor coach Steve Smith said of a contest that won’t determine anything other than a winnere and a loser. “It’s kind of like Christmas. You get to be the nice guy. Tomorrow, I get to be one of the nicest guys you have ever seen. Some guys are going to play tomorrow and they haven’t played in so long, they are going to love it.”