Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
Carmichael makes a little history, Sooners shut out Cowboys, force Bedlam rubber game
Writer’s note: Here’s my second game story from the Bedlam baseball series, which is also appearing in Saturday’s Norman Transcript and on the paper’s web site. Again, I’ve also included another notepad, only appearing here, along with the story. I love notepads. You don’t see them much anymore because there’s less resources and less space available on the physical page, and though online space is limitless, you’re not going to see a whole lot of writing getting done that’s designed never to appear on the page. Stories — I think, at least — demand narrative. After all, THEY’RE STORIES. But notepads allow you to put complementary information into the world unencumbered by narrative (or, at least, much narrative), meaning notepads can be written at much higher speed and much of them before the game you’re covering is even finished. About two-thirds of the notepad below was written while the game was in progress, in some cases holes being left to update postgame. Anyway, I love delivering further explanation and independent factual nuggets that would only bog down my game story in my notepads. Hope you enjoy this one.
And the story, too!!
By Clay Horning
For The Transcript
Coming off Thursday night’s Bedlam series opening loss to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma badly needed to reverse its fortune.
One win over their intrastate rivals might keep the Sooners in line to sneak into NCAA regional play. Two might put them in it independent of what happens at next week’s Big 12 tournament.
OU reversed its fortune.
Sort of historically at that.
Behind the program’s first complete game from a pitcher since the 12th outing of the coronavirus interrupted 2020 season, Braden Carmichael’s 96-pitch, four-hit, masterpiece made certain the Sooners prevailed.
Getting two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings and another in the seventh, OU claimed a 5-0 victory with one regular-season game remaining: today’s 4 p.m. first-pitch rubber game, back at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Sooners will be aiming to win their second Bedlam series since 2021, but only their third since 2016.
Carmichael made use of a heavy wind blowing in from left field, getting 17 of his outs on fly balls or popups, including seven of his last nine.
After seven innings, he’d thrown 72 pitches, but it wasn’t until he’d thrown eight, when he heard associate head coach Reggie Willits' son say “80” that he realized just how efficiently he’d been pitching.
“I was like, ‘Dude, what are we doing,’” Carmichael said. “… I knew it was probably pretty low because I was feeling all right.”
He pleased his skipper.
“He was really outstanding,” OU coach Skip Johnson said. “I thought his presence was really good from the first pitch on. He established the strike zone, made some really quality pitches.”
Braden’s brother, Easton, who was also his catcher, knew Braden was on his game, too.
“By the third inning,” he said, “I was like, ‘All right, he’s grooving.’”
What Braden did was throw strike after strike after strike after strike.
He finished with five strikeouts, no walks and only went to three balls on a batter twice, in the sixth inning against Cowboy leadoff hitter Zach Erhard and in the ninth against three-hole hitter Carson Benge.
It took six pitches for him to retire OSU’s final batter, Chase Adkison, all of them strikes: two swings and misses, three foul balls and finally a pop out to right field.
Three innings in, the game looked like it might be a pitcher’s dual from both sides, OSU starter Juaron Watts-Brown having an easy time of it, too.
That all changed when Dakota Harris fired a one-out fourth-inning single up the middle.
Though Harris has stolen only four bases all season, Watts-Brown paid an inordinate amount of attention to him, throwing to first base to keep him close five times as he struck out Kendal Pettis and walked John Spikerman.
Next up, Easton Carmichael took advantage, doubling down the left-field line and putting OU on top 2-0.
One inning later, Anthony Mackenzie’s triple, following a walk to Wallace Clark, made it 3-0, before Mackenzie came home on a wild pitch, making it 4-0.
The two teams combined on 12 hits, the Sooners doubling up the Cowboys 8 to 4.
No Cowboy finished with more than one hit.
Pettis and Spikerman each had two hits for the Sooners.
OU moved to 30-23 and 11-12 against Big 12 Conference foes.
OSU fell to 36-16 and 14-9.
They’ve got one more to play.
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Inside the game
History will show that Sooner first baseman Anthony Mackenzie roped a standup triple down the right-field line in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday night at L. Dale Mitchell Park, where Oklahoma stopped Bedlam rival Oklahoma State 5-0. It will also reflect Mackenzie’s three-bagger knocked in Wallace Clark, who opened the frame drawing a walk from OSU starting pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown. What it won’t reflect is Mackenzie very well might have enjoyed the utterly rare inside-the-park home run.
Because when the throw finally came in from Cowboy right-fielder Carson Benge, not cut off, it barely dribbled within 25 feet of the plate, leaving OSU catcher Chase Adkison to go get it.
At that point Watts-Brown, backing up Adkison behind the plate, should have moved to the plate. But he didn’t, and if Mackenzie would have just kept running upon arriving at third, he could have reached the plate before either Adkison or Watts-Brown could have made it there with the ball.
• The Sooners last complete game was pitched March 1, 2020, by Dane Acker, who threw a no-hitter at LSU inside Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. Acker walked one, struck out 11 and threw 117 pitches. The game’s only run came on a solo home run from Justin Mitchell.
• Not only was OU’s victory the first of its final conference series against its Bedlam foe. It was also the Sooners’ first victory over the Cowboys this season in three tries. The Bedlam rivals played a non-conference game in Stillwater on April 18, OSU claiming a 19-8 victory.
Braden Carmichael’s complete game shutout marked just the second time this season OSU has been shut out. Dallas Baptist popped the Cowboys 8-0 on March 28 in Dallas … Perhaps Juaron Watts-Brown thought Dakota Harris was a big base stealer and that’s why he kept trying to hold him close; because the first half of the Sooner batting order — all but Harris — are indeed threats. Hitting leadoff Friday, Anthony McKenzie has stolen 21 in 25 attempts; two-hole hitter Bryce Madron has pilfered 15 in 21; batting cleanup, Kendall Pettis has stolen 16 in 21, including one Friday night; and five-hole hitter John Spikerman has stolen 22 in 24, also including one Friday night.
OU (30-23, 11-12 Big 12) and OSU (36-16, 14-9) meet at 4 p.m. today, each trying to win the Bedlam series. The Sooners will throw James Hitt (5-0, 4.05 ERA), as confirmed by OU coach Skip Johnson Friday night, while the Cowboys have not named their starter, nor did they list a probable Saturday starter entering the series.
— Clay Horning