Phoenix wire report
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Max White hit an RBI triple in a two-run 12th inning for Oklahoma, lifting the Sooners past Connecticut 5-3 in an NCAA Blacksburg regional game.
The Sooners (42-19), who squandered a 3-0 lead, advanced in the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination regional. UConn (35-27) will play Virginia Tech (39-21) in an elimination game at 1 p.m. today with the winner meeting the Sooners at 4:30 p.m. needing to beat OU twice to remain alive.
“We just find a way to win late,” Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway said. “We don’t get overly excited. Our guys have the attitude that we’ll play all night.
“You learn to take the good with the bad. You don’t try to ride that wave too much. In the ninth or 10th inning, I knelt down and I thought, ‘I’d rather be here than in a hotel.’ I’d rather be here than doing another job. The only place I’d rather be is in a deer stand – but it’s not deer season, so I’m good right now.”
Craig Aikin started the rally for Oklahoma with a leadoff single. He went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Mayfield and took third on a wild pitch by UConn reliever Pat Butler.
White then hit a ball to the left-center field gap that UConn centerfielder Billy Ferriter almost caught. The ball glanced off Ferriter’s glove and rolled to the wall, allowing Aikin to score. The Sooners took a 5-3 lead when White scored on a throwing error by UConn second baseman LJ Mazzilli.
“It was a huge relief,” White said of his hit. “I had chances to break out the game after we were up 3-0. He left a hanger – I think it was a slider. I saw it up and I put a good swing on it with some backspin and it carried over his (Ferriter’s) head.”
UConn put two runners on in the bottom of the 12th, but Oklahoma reliever Kyle Hayes (1-0) got out of the jam, winning his first game of the year for the Sooners. Butler (3-2) took the loss for the Huskies.
White finished 2-for-6 for the Sooners, while Hector Lorenzana and Anthony Hermelyn each drove in two runs.
UConn shortstop Tom Verdi finished 3-for-6 for the Huskies, while Mazzilli, Vinny Siena and Bobby Melley drove in the runs.
The Huskies saw a great pitching effort from Jordan Tabakman go for naught. Tabakman went nine innings and gave up three runs – all in the first – on eight hits. He struck out one and walked one.