THE 2023 FRISCO CLASSIC DAY ONE RECAP
Courtesy of George Kopf
OKLAHOMA SURGES IN MIDDLE INNINGS, WHILE BUCKEYES PULL AWAY LATE
Game 1: Oklahoma 9, California 5
Sooners storm ahead, complete comeback to open Frisco Classic
The Oklahoma Sooners powered ahead of the California Golden Bears 9-5 to open the 2023 Frisco Classic. After falling behind 3-0 in the middle of the fourth, Oklahoma scored six unanswered runs to come back and take the lead.
California put up the first runs of the weekend, courtesy of a sacrifice fly in the first, a Rodney Green Jr. home run to right field in the third, and a fourth inning sacrifice fly by second baseman Cade Campbell to create an early lead.
The lead was short-lived, as the Sooners climbed back in and took control of the game.
Cal’s fortunes seem to go south after starting pitcher Ian May left the game due to a left elbow injury. He threw to one batter in the third inning and was visibly in pain after throwing a strike. The severity of May’s injury is yet to be determined, but head coach Mike Neu remained optimistic.
“Hopefully nothing serious,” said Neu. “That’s the hope. Anytime someone has to come out in the middle of the game it’s always a little scary. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Sooners leaned on second baseman Jackson Nicklaus and center fielder John Spikerman to bring them back into the game and pull ahead. The two sophomores combined for four extra base hits, seven RBIs, and three runs. Nicklaus connected for two 2-run home runs to right-center field and gave him his first career multi-homer game.
“I was just trying to hunt the inside seam of the fastball early in the count and luckily the dude threw me two,” said Nicklaus. “I was able to get inside and push it out into right-center.”
Cal didn’t go out quietly, as junior outfielder Jag Burden torched a two-run homerun to get the game back within one. However, that would be as close as the Golden Bears would get.
While the offense did the heavy lifting, the Sooner arms were solid too. Starter Kale Davis went four strong innings, while lefty reliever Carter Campbell came out of the bullpen to put a comeback bid to rest. Carson Atwood closed out the ballgame with a perfect ninth.
“I thought it was one of the best team wins of the year,” head coach Skip Johnson said.
Game 2: Ohio State 8, Mississippi State 3
Buckeyes’ bats wake up after early pitchers’ duel
A tight matchup turned upside down late as Ohio State put up two big crooked numbers to beat Mississippi State 8-3 under the lights at Riders Field.
The Buckeyes and Bulldogs were stuck in a pitcher’s duel as ambidextrous pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje and LHP Isaiah Coupet battled it out. Once both hurlers were pulled, the bats came alive for Ohio State, scoring four in the sixth inning and three in the seventh inning.
“I wasn’t successful early,” said Coupet. “Later in the game, I was getting ahead with the curveball and when you get ahead, you can make pitches when you need to.”
Buckeye designated hitter Tyler Pettorini had the biggest hit of the night, clearing the bases on a double that nearly got over the right field wall.
“Anytime you put three runs on the board with one swing, that’s always pretty good,” said Ohio State head coach Bill Mosiello.
Three consecutive Bulldog errors in the seventh added more insurance for Ohio State, allowing them to pile on the runs. The miscues were just the highlights of troubling defense across the board for Mississippi State.
“We’re eventually going to have to become a good defensive team,” said Mississippi State head coach Chris Lemonis. “Somebody’s gotta make the big play and get us off the field. Unfortunately, we are getting them [errors] in bunches; we played good defense all night long until the seventh, then we make two or three in a row.”
The lone bright spot for Mississippi State was shortstop Lane Forsythe. The junior managed a double, three walks, a run scored, and an RBI against Buckeye pitching.
Ohio State looks to build upon two wins in a row, their first winning streak of the season, and will do it in any way possible.
“It doesn’t have to be pretty all the time, and we’re learning every single day and inning, trying to create a culture on how to win games,” Mosiello said.
Oklahoma vs. Mississippi State (1:00 PM CST/Saturday)
California vs. Ohio State (5:00 PM CST/Saturday)