Jimmy Crooks got used to OU’s nomadic lifestyle in the playoffs.
After winning a Big 12 Tournament title in Arlington, Texas, the Sooners continued their tour by winning both the Gainesville Regional and the Blacksburg Super Regional.
“It’s comfortable for us,” Crooks said Wednesday. “We are really made to play on the road. I don’t think that really bothers us as a team. I think that makes us a little stronger.
On Friday, Crooks and the Sooners took to the biggest stage of them all.
OU began its College World Series streak with a 13-8 win over No. 5 Texas A&M at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. The Sooners made an early statement by scoring seven runs in the second inning, and Crooks threw the exclamation mark.
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After a two-run single from Blake Robertson and an RBI single from Tanner Tredaway extended the lead to 5-0, Crooks stole the show by hitting a three-run home run over the wall into right field.
A three-run homer from Texas A&M’s Jordan Thompson cut the deficit to 8-3 late in the period, but rookie Jackson Nicklaus kept OU in charge.
The Sooners loaded the bases in the top of the third inning when Nicklaus sent a sky-scraping shot into right field. All the Aggies outfielders could do was watch as he cruised overhead for a grand slam.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Jake Bennett contained the Texas A&M offense. He finished the day with three strikeouts and four surrendered runs in six innings, but the floodgates opened once he stepped off the mound.
The Aggies racked up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it 12-8. They got a trio of RBI singles, and all of them came with two strikes.
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But it wasn’t enough.
An RBI brace from John Spikerman in the top of the ninth extended OU’s lead to 13-8, and closer Trevin Michael did the rest. The transfer of the graduates ensured the final by forcing Jack Moss to fly away.
Nicklaus finished with four RBIs and two runs on a 1-for-3 hit. Crooks and Robertson each added three RBIs going 1-for-4 and 1-for-5 at the plate, respectively.
OU advances to face the winner of No. 9 Texas and Notre Dame on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Sooners will be without redshirt junior Brett Squires, who broke his hand Friday after being hit by a pitch in the third inning.
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Watch for OU: Winner of Texas-Notre Dame
When: 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska
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