By Hunter Cornejo
Enter Sandman. David Sandlin started off the first inning striking out the side. The Sooners’ offense got it going fast in the bottom of the first inning, putting two runners on base to bring Jimmy Crooks to the plate. Jimmy Crooks then jacked one out to the A&M bullpen, making the score 3-0. David Sandlin kept it going for the Sooners in the second inning picking up 2 more strikeouts. Ryan Prager bounced back for the Aggies with his own 1,2,3 inning. In the top of the third inning, David Sandlin picked up his 6th strikeout of the day, pitching another scoreless inning. The Sooners picked up another run in the bottom of the third inning. Peyton Graham hit a one-out double and then scored on a fielding error made by Jack Moss, making the score 4-0. In the top of the fourth inning, Sandlin walked Austin Bost and then gave up a hit to Ryan Targac. Sooner catcher Jimmy Crooks called for a mound visit and reminded Sandlin to just take it pitch by pitch. Sandlin did just that, striking out the next three batters, leaving two Aggies on base. Jacob Palisch responded with another 1,2,3 inning for the Aggies, picking up two strikeouts. In the top of the fifth inning, Sandlin pitched another 1,2,3 inning, while picking up his 10th strikeout of the day. John Spikerman started off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single. Spikerman advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch, and Blake Robertson was walked to give the Sooners two runners on base with one out. Tanner Tredaway picked up another RBI, scoring Spikerman on a base hit to make the score 5-0. Jacob Palisch was then able to limit the damage, forcing two fly outs without giving up another run. In the top of the sixth inning, Dylan Rock put the Aggies on the scoreboard with a solo HR. David Sandlin responded by retiring the next three Aggies, while picking up another strikeout. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Cade Horton reached 1st on a throwing error made by Kole Kaler. Palisch was able to get the Aggies out of another inning, while leaving another Sooner on base. In the top of the seventh inning, David Sandlin picked up his 12th strikeout on his way to retire the side. Jacob Palisch responded by striking out the heart of the Sooners’ lineup to keep the Aggies in the game heading into the 8th. In the top of the eighth inning, Trevin Michael made his third CWS appearance for the Sooners. Michael pitched another scoreless inning for the Sooners. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Jacob Palisch once again struck out the side to bring his strikeout total to 8. In the top of the ninth inning, Austin Bost started off the inning with a single, then Ryan Targac grounded out to first base, advancing Bost to second. The Aggies’ catcher Troy Claunch then grounded out to put the Sooners one out away. Trevin Michael struck out Brett Minnich to send the Sooners to the CWS finals.
Skip Johnson’s decision to pitch David Sandlin in relief against Texas A&M turned out to be a great move. Johnson being able to get Sandlin some experience in Omaha before his start in the Sooners’ third game paid off. David Sandlin pitched the best game of his career in the biggest game so far in his career, picking up a career-high 12 strikeouts. The Sooners being able to beat Texas A&M yesterday without having to play the if necessary game is huge. The Sooners are in a great position heading into Game 1 with Jake Bennett with a full week of rest. Cade Horton will be able to go in Game 2 for the Sooners, and odds are David Sandlin will be ready for a Game 3 start. Ole Miss and Arkansas face off today at 3:00 PM CT for the chance to play in the CWS final. Ole Miss and Arkansas are both really talented teams, so the Sooners will have their hands full regardless of who they play in the championship series. The good news for the Sooners though is that either team had to play in an extra game before the championship series.