OU baseball’s historic run ends in MCWS Finals

OMAHA, Neb. – Oklahoma’s incredible 2022 baseball season came to an end Sunday afternoon as the Sooners fell to Ole Miss 4-2 in the second game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s College World Series Championship Finals at Charles Schwab Field.

Redshirt freshman Cade Horton registered a career-high 13 strikeouts over 7.1 innings, which was his longest outing of the season. The Norman, Okla., product also set an MCWS Championship series mark with his 13 punch outs. In two starts at the Men’s College World Series, Horton struck out 24 batters over 13.1 innings and became the fourth pitcher since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1999 with multiple 10-strikeout outings in the MCWS, joining Florida’s Alex Faedo (2017), UCLA’s Trevor Bauer (2010) and Cal State Fullerton’s Jason Windsor (2004).

Oklahoma ends its season with a 45-24 record, including a 27-12 mark since April 12. OU won the Big 12 Championship, went 12-4 after the end of the regular season (8-4 in the NCAA Tournament) and won 14 of their last 19 games to end the year.

On Sunday, Horton dueled with Ole Miss starter Hunter Elliott for five scoreless innings, striking out nine batters and stranding two singles and a hit batter through the first half of the game. After the Rebels took the lead in the sixth on a solo home run by Jacob Gonzalez, Horton retired the next three batters and struck out four in a row to end his outing.

The Sooners took a 2-1 lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Redshirt sophomore catcher Jimmy Crooks started the rally with a two-out double and scored on a double by freshman second baseman Jackson Nicklaus. Kendall Pettis drew a bases-loaded walk to put OU in front. Ole Miss went ahead again with three runs in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Gonzalez and two wild pitches that produced runs.

Redshirt sophomore first baseman Blake Robertson drew a walk in the eighth inning to raise his total to 69 walks on the season, breaking the school record of 68 previously set by Terry Bogener in 1976.

Oklahoma appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning when freshman right fielder John Spikerman laid down a squeeze bunt single to score Nicklaus. It was ruled, however, that Spikerman ran inside the baseline to first base and was called out for interference when the throw got away, negating the play.

Ole Miss reliever John Gaddis (4-2) was credited with the win and Brandon Johnson earned a save while OU reliever Trevin Michael (4-2) took the loss.

The Oklahoma pitching staff totaled 59 strikeouts over five games in Omaha and finished the 2022 campaign with a single-season school record 644 strikeouts. The total surpassed the previous program-best of 608 strikeouts set in 2018.