Oklahoma Baseball Seeking to Hoist Trophy in Omaha for a Third Time
The Oklahoma Sooners have made it to the College World Series Championship round to meet Ole Miss. The Sooners have won the NCAA baseball title twice—in 1951 and 1994.
Both times they swept through foes in Omaha without a loss.
1951—They Weren’t Expected To Be There
The beginning of the ’51 OU baseball season didn’t look very promising, with six straight losses. Then the Sooners won six of the next nine and finished with a flurry of 13 consecutive victories to the NCAA crown.
“We just weren’t a great team, but everybody worked hard,” said OU Head Coach Jack Baer. “We had a couple of good hitters and two good pitchers, three really.”
Oklahoma entered the CWS as Big 7 champs with a record of 19-9 overall and 10-1 in the conference in Baer’s seventh season at the helm. Oklahoma swept Houston in three straight games in the District 5 Regional.
The Sooners began their quest at the double-elimination CWS with a victory over Ohio State, Springfield College, and USC to reach the championship game. The Tennessee Volunteers (20-2) had swept through their side of the bracket to reach the final.
The Vols jumped to a 2-0 lead over Oklahoma in the fifth inning before 6,230 fans at Omaha’s Municipal Stadium. OU scored a run in each of the next three innings for the deciding 3-2 tally. Centerfielder Charley Pugsley delivered the game-winning hit for the Sooners. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Pugsley laced his only hit of the evening into centerfield to score third baseman Ray Morgosh with the winning run.
Oklahoma’s starting pitcher Jack Shirley went the distance giving up only three hits and putting the side down in order in seven of the nine innings. The Sooners pounded out 11 hits off two Tennessee pitchers.
OU became the first team to win the tournament in straight games without a loss. Oklahoma also became the first institution to claim three national championships in one school year—football, wrestling, and baseball.
1994—25 Guys Pulling on the Same Rope
That was the motto the ’94 Sooners used to show unification, and it worked. Oklahoma had a good but not great regular season. The Sooners lost to Oklahoma State in the Big Eight tournament championship game but did not lose again.
OU received a bid to the Central Regional in Austin, Texas, beat Arkansas State and Stanford, and then swept the host Longhorns in two straight games to make the 48th College World Series. Oklahoma, seeded fourth in the tourney, edged Auburn and Arizona State by one run each in the first two rounds of the double-elimination tournament. The Sun Devils advanced to meet the Sooners in the next round, and they would have to beat OU twice to reach the final. Oklahoma won 6-1 to advance.
Meanwhile, No. 2 Georgia Tech swept through its side of the bracket to reach the final. The championship round was tied at 2-2 after three innings, and the Sooners exploded for five runs in the fourth for a 7-2 advantage, and they never looked back. The Yellowjackets scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, but Oklahoma answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame thanks to a three-run blast by designated hitter Damon Minor.
The Sooners added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh enroute to a 13-5 victory before a crowd of 21,053 at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.
Stellar pitching helped OU to its second baseball title. Mark Redman pitched seven innings against Auburn in the CWS opener and went the distance in the second meeting with Arizona State. The sophomore left-hander allowed two runs and struck out 11 Tigers. He gave up only one run and struck out six Sun Devils. Senior reliever Bucky Buckles got saves against Auburn and Georgia Tech and earned a win in relief in the first game against the Sun Devils. Buckles another save against the Yellow Jackets, his 14th of the year.
The hot bat for the Sooners belonged to senior center fielder Chip Glass, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the CWS. Glass hit only three home runs during the regular season, but he hammered three homers during the series, including one in the championship game. Glass batted .389 with four RBI and three stolen bases over the four-game series.
Oklahoma trailed in just one of the 72 innings in eight games of the NCAA Tournament. “We got hot at the right time,” commented OU Head Coach Larry Cochell following the championship game. “The momentum that we got in Austin carried over, and the two one-run victories here (against Auburn and Arizona State) gave us the confidence to keep it going.”
“We didn’t have any superstars,” Glass said. “This was a team in the truest sense of the word. We all pulled together and did what it took to win.”