The plan was always Sandlin, Jimmy Crooks lives up to Jimmy Rakes, he revisited Rosenblatt.

They had a plan for David Sandlin and he did it perfectly.

We could stop there. It’s that simple.

But I’m Big J Ed. Let’s dig deeper. Skip Johnson he told us the plan on Friday.

Sandlin would walk in from the Oklahoma bullpen into the opening, get his feet wet, and be ready to push in the third game of the Sooners’ living room.

He literally put everything out there for us.

“I wanted to get David out there for an inning, just to get him out. There’s no better time to get him out, he’ll probably start the third game, to put him at ease,” Johnson said after Friday’s 13-8 win. opening. “Whatever happened, it didn’t matter.”

Good thing. Sandlin was tagged for four runs in the seventh. The internet went wild.

But remember, it’s about winning and learning. What did Skip hope that Sandlin would bring it out? His answer on Saturday now seems a bit prophetic. We revisit.

“It didn’t go as smoothly as we planned, but at this time of year you never know what’s going to happen,” Johnson said. “You have to face adversity. Adversity makes some men break and others break records. You have to face adversity and that’s what’s great in baseball every day is a new day.”

Sandlin must be more than the latter. Break records like a boy.

He is only the fifth pitcher to pitch seven innings with 12 strikeouts and allow one run or less since the MCWS moved to Schwab in 2011. He was the all-time high from a Big 12 pitcher in Omaha.

The test run on Friday paid off.

“Absolutely. I just prepared for the atmosphere I was going to be in and mentally prepared almost more for this game and trusted everything I had,” said Sandlin. “I think I’ve tried a little too much and, as coach Johnson says, you can’t. You don’t want to be prepared when it’s not necessary.”

Sandlin is only the fifth Oklahoma pitcher to have eliminated 10 or more batters in an MCWS game by joining Jackson Todd (1972 – 14 vs. Temple), teammate Cade Horton (2022 – 11 vs. Notre Dame), Mark Redman (1994 – 11 vs. Auburn) and Jackson Todd (1973 – 10 vs. Minnesota).

Jimmy the Great

Maybe it’s time to start talking more about the Sooners backstop. The management. The defence. The hitter affectionately known as Jimmy Rakes. And a relationship with his manager that allows the red jersey’s second-year receiver to call his own game.

“I think he was missing from a capture standpoint,” Johnson said. “The leadership he provides, the comfort when he goes to the mound and chews their asses or lights them up or throws them. I think leadership from a capture standpoint is what’s really needed.”

Sure enough he did just that in the fourth inning on Wednesday. It was Sandlin’s first jam of the game. Two up, no out. A&M looking for an inning that changes momentum. Crooks turned to home plate umpire Grady Smith after a walk ahead, asked for time and ran for the mound.

“I just told them to be relaxed. I don’t tell David much. Not with any other pitcher. I just tell them to relax, do their thing and beat the zone,” Crooks said.

“After I got that hit, I knew he was in the zone. That’s what kept him going, and then he knocked out the next three hitters.”

Deep exhalations from the Presto State.

Oh, and he also has the team’s longest base win streak (23 games). Hitting not one but two home runs in three Sooners games. Only the third Sooner to score more home runs (Chip Glass, 1994 and Tyler Ogle, 2010) while he was here.

Remember Rosenblatt

After the Oklahoma afternoon training session at Bellevue East High School, the team bus made a pit stop on its way to the team’s hotel.

It wasn’t at Zesto for the ice cream. It wasn’t a recon mission to the Omaha Zoo in search of Damon Minor’s 1994 CWS home run. But it was on the site of the old Rosenblatt Stadium.

A reminder – and an introduction to some – of the past.

“That’s why I have the best baseball operations officer in baseball, Ryan Gaines. He came to me before we went to train, and he said, Dude, I had a good idea. I asked him, what is that? He said, let’s go to Rosenblatt, ”Johnson said.

“I said, it’s great. Let’s go over there and show those guys where this place has been, what the College World Series is about, where the Oklahoma Sooners won their last national championship in 1994 onwards.”

A spearhead of the past from the present. Same program, different players. None of this year’s players were still alive the last time Oklahoma reached the pinnacle of collegiate baseball.

“As manager Johnson told us, it’s a part of us. History and everyone who played at the University of Oklahoma before us is as important as the team we have now,” said David Sandlin. “They laid the foundations for us and we just have to move on.”

About 28 years later there is a new group of guys pulling the same rope. This time it’s just across town.

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