It takes an army: Sooners stay alive with win over West Point


Dacoda McDowell-Wahpekeche

Oklahoma Pitcher Braxton Douthit delivers a pitch during his complete game effort against the Army Black Knights.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia –The Oklahoma Sooners staved off elimination Saturday with a 10-1 win over the Army Black Knights behind a complete game by starting pitcher Braxton Douthit.

OU lived to see another night while Army packed their rucksacks bound for the long trip back to West Point.

Douthit, a graduate transfer student from Lamar University, walked the leadoff batter in both of the first two innings but ended up turning in a full nine innings day of work.

“It’s kind of been a recurring event in the second half of the season,” said Douthit of his early troubles with walks. “I just needed to flush it and do it for the team. I’m glad the guys behind me made plays.”

While he did end up walking four batters on the day, Douthit also struck out seven while also taking a one-hitter into the sixth inning. Army head coach Chris Tracz credited Douthit for making his lineup too aggressive at the plate.

“I think it’s natural that when you’re not hitting well you press a little bit,” said Tracz. “In that one inning (top of the fifth) we flew out to left field three times. It was probably five or six pitches where we got really aggressive.”

After going through five different relief pitchers in the regional opener against East Carolina, OU Head Coach Skip Johnson was pleased that his starter managed to give his bullpen the day off.

“That was huge for him,” said Johnson. “It really gave those guys who threw yesterday another day off and still have the bullpen loaded for two games tomorrow.”

OU’s offense exploded during a five-run fifth inning to really put distance on the scoreboard. No one on the Sooners brought in more runs than Bryce Madron, who had four RBI on the day.

After how poorly their game went against East Carolina on Friday night, the Sooners were able to throw the switch and completely turn their fortunes around against Army.

“What happened to us (against East Carolina) happened to them (Army) today,” said Skip Johnson. “That’s why baseball is the greatest game. One day you can feel not good and the next day you can feel great.”

For the first time all season, Jackson Nicklaus was taken out of the starting lineup and Wallace Clark took over at second base in his place. Clark made the most of his opportunity by hitting his first career home run in a Sooners uniform.

Johnson said he simply wanted to give Nicklaus a break after a tough game against ECU with three strikeouts and an error.

“I think the biggest difference was giving (Nicklaus) a day off, letting him get a mental rest. Hell, he might even try harder. I think sitting on the bench is good for your motivation.”

With the Sooners advancing, they will play the loser of the ECU-Virginia matchup at 11 A.M. on Sunday. If OU wins that game, they will play the winner of the ECU-Virginia matchup in the Regional final at 6 P.M. on the same day. A well rested and fully loaded bullpen would be a very good thing to have if the Sooners do get to play two games on Sunday

Regardless of who the opponent is for OU tomorrow, they’re going to be a tough out. However, if a rematch against ECU is inevitable, Johnson has a sure-fire way for the Sooners to win.

“Score more runs than they score,” said Johnson.

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News go to