ARLINGTON, Texas — OU shortstop Peyton Graham put to test his power against the depth of spacious Globe Life Field.
With the bases loaded in the second inning, the Sooners’ sophomore got a hold of a pitch from West Virginia ace Jacob Watters.
It certainly carried. Then it kept carrying, right over the center-field wall near the 410-feet yellow marker, the deepest part of the roof-covered venue.
And the Sooners were rolling early behind their star.
Third-seeded OU rode the big blast early and then held on in a planned bullpen day to down sixth-seeded West Virginia 6-4 late Wednesday night in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
The win is the Sooners’ first in the conference tournament since 2018. OU had lost both games in 2019 and 2021, with no tournament being played in 2020.
OU gets a big rematch with second-seeded Texas Tech at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Sooners have beaten the Red Raiders in three of their four meetings, including wins in 2 of 3 last weekend in Lubbock.
They took that series with big bats and aggressive baserunning.
It was no different against the Mountaineers.
John Spikerman, who had three hits and a walk, drove in a run in the second with a single. Graham then promptly followed with his grand slam, his 15th homer of the season.
In the fourth, OU added another run on an RBI single by Tanner Tredaway, who also had four hits, for a 6-0 lead.
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The bullpen — a strategy OU coach Skip Johnson said earlier in the week he would deploy — shut down the Mountaineers for eight innings.
A trio of pitchers combined to hold West Virginia to one run over the span.
Carson Atwood opened with three shutout innings. Carter Campbell followed with two clean innings. Chazz Martinez followed with three innings, allowing just a run on a wild pitch in the eighth.
But the ninth got interesting.
Freshman Nicholas Andrews and Trevin Michael each allowed homers before Michael struck out Victor Scott II to end the game.
Big 12 tournament schedule
At Arlington, Texas
Wednesday, May 25
Game 2: No. 1 TCU 4, No. 8 Baylor 2
Game 3: No. 2 Texas Tech 5, No. 7 Kansas State 3
Game 4: No. 3 Oklahoma 6, No. 6 West Virginia 1
Thursday, May 26
Game 5: Oklahoma State vs. Baylor, 9 a.m.
Game 6: Kansas State vs. West Virginia, 12:30 p.m.
Game 7: Texas vs. TCU, 4 p.m.
Game 8: Texas Tech vs. OU, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 27
Game 9: G7 loser vs. G5 winner, 3:15 p.m.
Game 10: G8 loser vs. G6 winner, 7p.m.
Saturday, May 28
Game 11: G7 winner vs. G9 winner, 9 a.m.
Game 12: G8 winner vs. G10 winner, 12:30 p.m.
Game 13: G11 winner vs. G11 loser*, 4 p.m.
Game 14: G12 winner vs. G12 loser*, 4 p.m. or 7:30
Sunday, May 29
Game 15: Championship, 5 p.m.
Jacob Unruh covers college sports for The Oklahoman. You can send your story ideas to him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jacobunruh. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU Sooners beat West Virginia in Big 12 baseball tournament opener