- Associated Press - Sunday, May 18, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Kindle Ladd combined with Jeffrey Curran on a five-hitter to help Oklahoma end Oklahoma State’s 12-game winning streak, 8-1 on Saturday night.

The Sooners (28-27, 8-16) avoided being swept by the Big 12 Conference champion Cowboys (41-14, 18-6) in the three-game, neutral-site series that ended their regular-season schedules.

Oklahoma State has won three out of five games overall in the season series and the teams will meet again in the Big 12 Tournament’s first round on Wednesday at Oklahoma City.

Ladd (4-3) and Curran capped a strong weekend of pitching for the Sooners, who allowed seven runs in the three games. Oklahoma entered the series with an ERA of 5.70 in Big 12 games.

“All of them gave us a chance to win,” Sooners coach Pete Hughes said. “Our pitching staff feels real good about themselves.”

The Sooners had lost 11 of their last 13 games entering the series finale and Hughes was looking for something positive to take into the conference tournament. He likes how the Sooners’ pitching matches up against the Cowboys.

“I know you can have success against Oklahoma State if you throw a ton of strikes,” Hughes said. “Don’t beat yourself, make your pitches and pound the (strike) zone.”

And that’s what the Sooners did as Ladd (4-3) allowed four hits five innings. He walked two and struck out one.

“I threw strikes, they played good defense behind me and I tried to stay focused as long as I could,” Ladd said.

Curran retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced over the last four innings and struck out four.

Oklahoma scored four runs in the first inning on two-run, two-out singles by Anthony Hermelyn and Kolbey Carpenter. Cowboys starting pitcher Garrett Williams (4-1) was charged with four runs in two-thirds of an inning.

“It was definitely good to get on the board first,” Hermelyn said.

The Sooners added two runs in the fourth as reliever Blake Battenfield issued two walks to open the inning. Craig Aikin lined a RBI double into right-center and Hector Lorenzana bounced a run-scoring single into right field for a 6-0 lead.

Oklahoma State’s run came in the fifth when Tim Arakawa led off with a single and eventually scored on Ladd’s wild pitch.

Sheldon Neuse’s two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Alex Hackerott capped the scoring. Neuse’s seventh homer of the season drove in Aikin, who led off with a single.

Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday did not think the Cowboys experienced a letdown after clinching the outright conference title on Friday.

“We came ready to play, but didn’t play well enough to win,: Holliday said. “It was one of those days.”

Holliday gave credit to Ladd’s performance.

“I thought he changed speeds real well and worked fast,” Holliday said. “He knows what he’s doing and is a good competitor.”

Overflow crowds, including 8,709 on Saturday, attended the series’ final two games that were held at ONEOK Field, home of the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.

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