OU Baseball: Pitching Dominates In Win Over Tech
Sophomore right-hander Alec Hansen pitched a complete game three-hitter to lead the University of Oklahoma baseball team past No. 10 Texas Tech, 5-2, in front of 1,313 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday afternoon. The Sooners improved to 16-9 overall and evened their Big 12 record at 1-1, while the Red Raiders dropped to 16-7 and 1-1.
“I think guys have to grow up and the only way to grow up is to push through the tough times,” reflected head coach Pete Hughes. “It could backfire on you too; but [Hansen] did it against Oregon State, we left him in there when he was just a bit uncomfortable and he fought through and he got to a really good performance level. We did it last weekend at Hawaii, same thing. Let him pitch through some tough times so it's not new to him, so it doesn't speed up to him when he sees it out there like today. He did. I thought he stepped back, regrouped, and executed.”
Hansen (3-2) was sharp for eight of the nine innings he worked. He didn't allow a hit through the first four innings and was ahead in the count to 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. A bloop-single and a seeing-eye-single got Tech going in the fifth and both runs came in to score on wild pitches from Hansen.
“Last year, I don't think Alec gets out of [that fifth inning],” continued Hughes. “So it really showed maturity, grinding with it, making adjustments, and getting out of that inning and continuing to pitch well after that. And that's what growing up is all about.”
Oklahoma's bats immediately responded as junior left fielder Hunter Haley was hit by a pitch and freshman second baseman Kyle Mendenhall lined a base hit to turn the order back to the top. Junior first baseman Kolbey Carpenter, hitting lead-off for the first time in his career, blasted the first pitch he saw over the wall in left for a three-run home run to put the Sooners in front.
Pitching with a lead for the first time in the game, Hansen would retire the 12 of the final 13 batters he faced, including six strikeouts to the last eight hitters. He needed just 78 pitches to get through the first seven innings and finished the game throwing 111. Hansen touched 101 MPH on the radar gun in the third and was still throwing fastballs at 97 in the ninth. For the game, he surrendered just two hits and three walks, while striking out 10.
In the seventh, Oklahoma added two insurance runs. Mendenhall picked up his third hit of the day to lead things off, followed by Carpenter's fourth hit to put runners on the corners with no outs. Mendenhall then came home on a perfectly executed safety squeeze off a bunt by redshirt-senior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh. Carpenter later stole third and trotted home on an errant throw down to the bag from home.
Mendenhall finished the day 3-for-3 with two runs scored and Carpenter went 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs.
Left-hander Cameron Smith (1-3) allowed three runs on six hits and a walk through six innings for the Red Raiders, while adding four strikeouts.
The final game of the series takes place Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.