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Friday College Baseball Roundup

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James Homer Propels OU Past WVU

NORMAN, Okla. – Junior catcher Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas) belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a tie and lead the way for a 5-3 win for the University of Oklahoma baseball team over West Virginia in front of 1,121 at L. Dale Mitchell Park, Friday evening. The Sooners improved to 25-15 overall, 5-6 in the Big 12 and snapped a five-game home losing streak. The Mountaineers dropped to 18-16 and 3-7.

"You should never, as college athlete when you have one college career, come out with no energy," began coach Pete Hughes. "I told those guys before the game that I am going to coach for a long time. I am going to have a lot more seasons. You guys have one college career and we have some guys that this is their last year. That has to mean something and that has to bring some urgency. Good for them. They came out and hopefully they can see the difference in coming out with some energy and some life and some competitiveness. We are a different team when we do that. But that is predicated off a good start, too. You can talk about energy and rah-rah but if you don't have a good start it deflates everyone."

Redshirt-sophomore lefty Adam Choplick pitched a career-best seven innings in a no-decision. He scattered six hits and two walks; yielding three runs, two earned, and struck out six. Sophomore right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. earned the win in two innings of relief. He leads the team in wins at 5-1 as he struck out four in two perfect frames. Garza entered for Choplick with a man aboard in the eighth and promptly struck out two and picked off one.

"I thought [Choplick] was really good," added Hughes. "I thought he went out there after we scored some runs and had some shutdown innings too which is important with momentum and keeping it in your dugout. I thought he kept them off balance and he threw a lot of strikes with his slider. When you can do that, they are off balance and it makes your fastball even better."

After Oklahoma kept its opponent off the board for the first time in six games, West Virginia grabbed a brief lead in the second. Left fielder Jacob Rice hit a lead-off single, advanced to third on a two-base error and scored on a double by right fielder Brad Johnson.

In the bottom of the second, the Sooners responded with a two-out rally. Junior second baseman Joshua Ake doubled to right-center and scored the tying run on a triple by sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin over the head of the WVU center fielder. He came the final 90 feet on a single placed into shallow right by redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh.

The Mountaineers tied the game in the third, 2-2. Third baseman Michael Constantini drew a lead-off walk, was sacrificed to second and went to third on a base hit. With one out, second baseman Billy Fleming hit a sharp grounder to third, where freshman Sheldon Neuse fielded and threw to second for the force, but the throw to first was a shade late as Fleming beat it out and Constantini scored.

The two teams traded runs again as Oklahoma scored in the fifth on a James sac-fly that brought in Neuse, who banged his team-leading sixth triple of the season off the wall in left. West Virginia answered in the sixth on a single to left-center by Johnson that scored first baseman Ryan McBroom. The Mountaineers attempted a double steal, but Rice was thrown out on an attempt to steal home to end the threat.

To start off the eighth, Neuse lined a single through the left side for his second hit of the day to set up James' two-run shot. For James, he went 2-for-3 with three RBI and picked up his fourth home run of the season. Neuse finished 2-for-3 and scored twice.

Left-hander Harrison Musgrave (3-3) pitched a complete game for West Virginia in a losing effort. He surrendered five runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five.

The series finale will be played at noon on Saturday. Sophomore lefty Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) is scheduled to pitch for OU against right-hander Sean Carley.

 

Perrin Hurls Gem As Cowboys Open With Win

STILLWATER, Okla. – Jon Perrin tossed the first shutout of his career, and 13th-ranked Oklahoma State used a big seventh inning rally to vault into first place in the Big 12 Conference standings with a 7-0 win over Kansas Friday night at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

The win was the fifth in a row in league play for the Cowboys, who improved to 9-4 and moved to 1Ž2 game ahead of both TCU and Texas in the Big 12 standings. OSU is 27-11 overall.

Perrin recorded the first complete game of his career, and the junior right-hander also racked up a career-high nine strikeouts while issuing just one walk along the way. In winning his third-straight start, he improved to 5-2.

"I felt pretty good out there, obviously," Perrin said. "I had all three pitches working – I got swings and misses with my fastball, changeup and slider. I wasn't as sharp as I should have been in the first three innings, and (OSU pitching coach) Rob (Walton) got on to me a little bit about that. He wanted me to be ultra-aggressive and just pound the zone with max effort. I made that adjustment and in (innings) four through nine, I was in attack mode the whole time."

KU's offense had most of its success early, collecting five of its six hits in the first three innings. In the third, the Jayhawks got three-straight singles to load the bases with one out, but Perrin got out of the jam by getting Connor McKay to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Jayhawks' only other hit came in the seventh on a two-out by Ryan Pidhaichuk. Perrin then retired seven KU hitters in a row to end the game, getting a groundout to end it on his 130th pitch of the game.

"Jon did a great job. Probably the most encouraging thing is just the way he got stronger as he went and really had a strong demeanor about him," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. "The last five innings were about as aggressive and confident as you've ever seen him. It's always fun to watch your players grow and build that confidence in themselves and go out and do that type of thing."

KU starter Jordan Piche' matched Perrin and kept the Cowboys off the scoreboard until the sixth when Tanner Krietemeier followed a single by Donnie Walton with an RBI double into the left-center field gap to put OSU up, 1-0.

OSU put the game away in the seventh. Using a small-ball formula, the Cowboys erupted for six runs on seven singles, with four of those hits coming via bunts.

Tim Arakawa got things started with a bunt single, and Conor Costello followed with a single through the left side. Pinch-hitter Aaron Cornell then laid down a bunt single, and a throwing error by KU catcher Ka'iana Eldredge plated OSU's second run.

Craig McConaughy and Saulyer Saxon then delivered back-to-back RBI singles, and two batters later, Krietemeier brought home another run with a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-0. The Cowboys then got another set of back-to-back singles – these by Gage Green and Zach Fish – to push their lead to seven.

"We were very, very good in executing offense in the seventh inning," Holliday said. "The kids did a great job of doing the little things it takes to win a game like that on a Friday night…

"It was pretty amazing. A couple of (the bunts), they knew they were coming, and the kids were still able to execute the skill well enough to be an aggressive play."

Following the big inning, Perrin slammed the door on the visitors to help OSU record its fourth shutout of the season and help give the Cowboys' relievers some much needed rest on the heels of last Tuesday's 18-inning game against Oklahoma that saw the Pokes use nine pitchers.

"Our bullpen has been getting abused all year so to finally be able to have a night where they get a night off is really huge for our ballclub," Perrin said. "That is just gonna make us better on Saturday and Sunday."

The two teams return to action Saturday at 3 p.m.

 

Boss, McDavid help ORU clinch series over HBU, 5-3

TULSA, Okla. – Junior Jacob McDavid pitched four-plus innings of shutout ball in relief to help the Oral Roberts University baseball team clinch a Southland Conference series against Houston Baptist with a 5-3 victory on Friday at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

ORU moved above .500 in league play for the first time this season as the Golden Eagles improved to 9-8 in the Southland and 21-17 overall. The Huskies of HBU fell to 16-19 overall and 6-11 in the conference.

McDavid entered the game in relief of Gavin Glanz with two outs in the top of the fourth. In the next 4.1 innings, McDavid (1-0) allowed just two hits and struck out five batters for his first win as a Golden Eagle.

Tyler Boss was perfect at the plate with three hits, a walk, an RBI and scored a run, improving his season average to .349 on the season. Boss is hitting .444 against Southland opponents this season.

Audie Afenir also had three hits in the game, and Jose Trevino picked up two, including a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning.

The Huskies scattered 13 hits in the loss, with Jordan McCoy and Zach Nehrir leading the way with three hits apiece. Ryan Lower (4-2) took the loss as he allowed four Golden Eagle runs in 2.1 innings of work.

ORU jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first three innings of play. In home half of the second, Afenir singled through the right side, moving Boss over to third. However, the Huskie right fielder struggled fielding the ball and Boss scored the first run of the game.

A few batters later, Brandon Healy sent the ball to right field to plate Afenir to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 after two innings.

The Golden Eagles picked up back to back singles from Matt Brandy and Trevino to start the third, setting up a RBI single by Boss down the line in left to bring home Brandy. Anthony Sequeira followed Boss with a fly ball to deep center to score Trevino on a sacrifice fly, extending the ORU lead to 4-0.

HBU came back with three unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings. McCoy crossed the plate for the first Huskie run of the evening on a single through the left side by Josh Martinez. The Huskies eventually loaded the bases, but the Golden Eagles turned a double play to end the inning to hold on to a 4-1 lead after four.

In the fifth, McCoy singled back up the middle to plate Curtis Jones, and Martinez doubled in the gap in right center to score McCoy, both with two outs, to cut the Golden Eagle lead to 4-3.

But in the bottom of the fifth inning, Trevino put the nail in the coffin with a solo home run over the left field foul pole, his sixth of the year, to make it a 5-3 game.

That was all McDavid needed as he cruised through the final four innings, including a three strikeout inning in the seventh.

ORU will go for its second straight series sweep on Saturday as the Golden Eagles host HBU in series finale at 2 p.m. at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

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