Jared Schlehuber knocked in three runs for Oral Roberts and Drew Bowen shut down Oklahoma’s anemic offense in a 7-0 elimination game victory Saturday at the Fort Worth Regional.
Schlehuber, who was lost earlier in the season after shoulder surgery, was the offensive catalyst for the Golden Eagles’ six-run outburst in the first and second innings.
His two-run, two-out single led to three runs in the first to put Oklahoma in a big hole.
Oral Roberts will face either Dallas Baptist or TCU, the regional’s top seed, in another elimination game on Sunday afternoon.
“He’s been a warrior,” said Oral Roberts coach Rob Walton, whose team was 21-16 during the stretch without Schlehuber and 15-4 since his return. “That was a huge hit (in the first). He’s a tough kid. He’s mentally tough, and he’s physically tough. We struggled without him and as soon as he’s come back we’ve played better.”
The Golden Eagles (37-21) benefited from six Oklahoma errors.
Bowen gave up six hits and three walks with one strikeout in eight innings.
“He was really good today,” Walton said. “He used his fastball very effectively. He just didn’t give them an opportunity to score. When he’s on, he’s very, very good.”
The Sooners (41-19) left 12 runners on base and finished the season with 14 runs in their last six games. OU’s 3-4-5 hitters went 1-9 on Saturday.
Oklahoma had runners in scoring position in the first, fifth, sixth and left the bases loaded in the ninth.
“In college baseball, you can’t win that way,” said Oklahoma outfielder Chris Ellison, who had three hits in five at-bats.
Oklahoma put two runners on in the first, but a double play ended the inning.
Oral Roberts scored in the first inning and drove OU starter Burch Smith from the game in just two-thirds of an inning.
The Golden Eagles added three runs in the second with help from two Sooners errors. Chris Elder and Brandon King each drove in runs with base hits and Schlehuber walked with the bases loaded.
“I just didn’t have it,” Smith said. “I feel like I owe someone an apology.”
Smith was not the source of all the Sooners’ problems.
Oklahoma’s meltdown was complete when a grounder to shortstop Caleb Bushyhead resulted in two errors when it went under his glove and left fielder Eric Ross’.
“We took advantage of their errors,” Walton said. “They kicked it around a little, and that obviously hurt them.
“Baseball is a funny game; balls bounce funny ways.”
Oklahoma, ranked as high as No. 2 in the country and a College World Series participant a year ago, entered the Big 12 Championship having won 10 of its previous 12 games.
“It’s a frustrating end for us,” said Sooners coach Sunny Golloway. “We had some high expectations. We just didn’t live up to them. Sometimes in life, it’s not meant to be”