Skip to main content

Sooners baseball season ends with 7-1 loss to UConn in Norman Regional championship

Eddie On3by:Eddie Radosevich06/03/24

That one is going to sting for a while for Sooners baseball.

Oklahoma’s season came to an end Monday night as UConn used a pair of fourth inning two-run home runs to build a lead they would never look back on in a 7-1 win, advancing to next weekend’s Tallahassee Super Regional. 

A bunch of what ifs and coulda, woulda, shoulda for the Sooners who end the season 40-21, reaching the 40-win mark for the second time in three seasons. 

Carson Atwood was cruising through the first three innings before Paul Tammaro opened the Huskies top of the fourth with a single to center field. Korey Morton delivered the initial blow one with a two-run shot to left. 

And that was just the start of an inning that would put a nail in the Sooners season. 

Atwood struck out Tyler Minick to end the inning but Oklahoma catcher Scott Mudler overthrew first baseman Michael Snyder allowing Minick to race all the way around to third. And I’m sure you can guess what happened next? Yep. Maddix Delana followed with the biggest swing of the night, sending a two-run home run to right and the two-run deficit turned into four. But it felt more like eight. 

“It changed a lot. It kinda took the wind out of our sails,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. These guys were trying, having quality at-bats. And when you’re down two and four to nothing, we had fought back all year long. Matter of a fact, a week ago we fought back six bullet and came back and won a game. It ain’t like we had never done it before. 

“Just proud of the guys for fighting and continuing to fight. For your defensive success, you’ve got to play good baseball. We didn’t play well tonight. We just didn’t. Picked a bad day to play bad.” 

Gut punch. 

UConn added two more runs in the fifth. Carter Campbell walked T.C. Simmons to open the frame and balked him to third following a ground out to short. Luke Broadhurst RBI single made it 5-0, followed by Korey Morton again, driving in his third run of the game and it was 6-0. 

The Huskies added a run in the eighth with a two-out RBI single. 

UNLUCKY BREAKS AND NO HOLES TO FIND

It was a common theme of the Norman Regional. Hard hit balls found UConn gloves. Rally attempts were snuffed out by outstanding defense. 

No better example than the Sooners fourth inning following a Michael Snyder one-out single to right. Jaxon Willits tagged a ball that was bound to find a hole on the right side of the infield, but it hit Snyder attempting to run from first to second. 

Scott Mudler tagged a ball into centerfield with one out in the fifth and Huskies centerfielder Caleb Shpur made a diving grab to rob a base hit. 

In the sixth it was Jaxon Willits at the plate again following a pair of two-out base hits from Easton Carmichael and Snyder. Much like two innings before, Willits laced a ball that looked to be headed back up the middle into centerfield only to ricochet off starting pitcher Gabe Van Emon and into the glove of second baseman Bryan Padilla, who threw to first retiring the side. 

A month ago, a six-run deficit felt more than doable. On Monday night? A six-run deficit felt insurmountable. 

“I don’t think it did. I think we thought we were going to win the game the whole way to the last out. It’s just one of those things where nothing was falling for us and couldn’t get anything going. It’s just the way it was. A tough way to go out,” said senior outfielder Kendall Pettis. 

Oklahoma loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth. A final gasp aided in part by UConn’s first error of the weekend. They’re human! But Jackson Nicklaus grounded into a double play sealing the Sooners season.

TO MAKE THINGS WORSE

Oklahoma’s season comes to an end with its high-powered offense unable to find answers against Gabe Van Emon. The senior had been moved out of the Huskies weekend rotation after allowing 33 runs over his last 25.2 innings. 

On Monday, Oklahoma couldn’t solve him. 

“A couple hard hit balls. The umpire was giving a ball or two away and he took advantage of that. I feel like we just had to cover more of the plate. And that’s fine. Just a little bit of adversity, but he pitched well. He pitched his ass off. He did his thing and we just couldn’t get anything going,” said Pettis. 

A frustrating end to a season that included a number of record setting marks, including the school’s first Big 12 regular season title in which they won the league by three games. 

There’ll be a time for recollection and a celebration of sorts but for now? This loss will sting. Postseason baseball returned to Norman for the first time in 14 years, but Oklahoma fans are left wondering what could have been. 

You may also like