By JOHN SHINN
DALLAS — The steady diet of sliders Dallas Baptist fed Oklahoma Saturday night must have looked succulent. The Sooners continually chased them in the dirt and two feet off the plate. They chased them anywhere but in the strike zone.
The puzzling display Tuesday night finally ended with a 2-0 loss to the Patriots at Horner Ballpark. For the fourth straight time against Dallas Baptist, OU left baffled.
“We just kept swinging over the top of them,” OU shortstop Jack Mayfield said. “We tried to make an adjustment late by scooting up in the (batter’s) box, but we were still swinging over the top of them. It’s something we have to work on this week.”
The Sooners (33-12) better work. They only had three hits and struck out 12 times.
“We looked awful,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “We swung at the ones in the dirt. We missed some by two or three feet. The ones that were hanging early, we took. It was almost like we were guessing like we didn’t see the ball at all.”
But to say Dallas Baptist wasn’t a team the Sooners saw coming means it flunked a very recent history test. The loss was their fifth straight to the Patriots over the last three seasons.
OU didn’t do much — at the plate — to prevent the fifth straight loss. Mayfield had a double in the fourth inning and Matt Oberste continued his tear, going 2 for 2. The rest of the team was 0 for 23.
The loss dropped OU further down in the Ratings Percentage Index. It was No. 41 when the game started. The loss to Dallas Baptist (23-22), which was No. 170 entering the game, dropped the Sooners five spots.
Golloway said it was a performance that had been weeks in the making.
“The NCAA allows you so much time and we work hard on our pitching and defense and we give them time for batting practice,” he said, “but you have to put extra time in if you want to be a good hitter.
“We had a heart-to-heart with our guys because no one has been putting in extra time hitting — none of them. It really showed up tonight. They think, magically, changing the lineup is going to cause them to hit.
“We lose Sunday and no one stayed around to hit. Nobody came in and hit Monday and no one came in early to hit today and we don’t hit tonight — that’s how that all works.”
Cory Taylor (1-2) picked up the victory. He held OU to two hits over five innings. He struck out seven. Joseph Shaw held the Sooners to one hit over the final two innings to get the save.
OU pitched well enough to win, but likely lost another starting pitcher in the process.
Adam Choplick, who took the loss to drop to 3-2, suffered an apparent elbow injury after throwing to first base after fielding a bunt in the second inning.
Choplick was in obvious pain when the injury occurred and had his left arm wrapped in ice the rest of the night. He was wearing a sling after the game. Golloway said Choplick will undergo more tests today to see the extent of the damage.
Kyle Hayes, Billy Waltrip and Ralph Garza Jr. held Dallas Baptist to one run on six hits over the final eight innings.
With the way the Sooners were waving at sliders, it didn’t matter.
“Three hits is never going to win a baseball game,” Mayfield said. “This has to make us focus and work harder. It has to.”