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OU Baseball Beats Kansas State

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MANHATTAN, Kansas -

Oklahoma (31-22, 12-8 Big 12) used the long-ball and quality starting pitching to defeat Kansas State (24-26, 8-12 Big 12) by a score of 5-3 in game two of the three-game set and even up the series at one game apiece.

Chris Shaw and Hunter Haley went yard in the second and fourth inning, respectively, and combined to drive in three runs. All nine Sooner batters recorded a hit, with Kolbey Carpenter and Kyle Mendenhall leading the way with three base knocks each.

“Offensively we had a great night, which we needed to after last night's performance,” OU baseball head coach Pete Hughes said. “I like to see our offense keep grinding, be resilient, and we had 16 hits today, so a pretty good bounce-back for our offense. We got three hits from our nine hitter today. Our eight hole, who is not your typical eight hole, got a home run, Hunter Haley. It's good to see Chris Shaw swing the bat with power again.”

On the mound OU received a strong outing from senior Robert Tasin on Saturday. The right-hander allowed two runs on just three hits over six innings of work. Tasin struck out five on his way to improving his season record to 8-2. The eight victories are the most on the team in 2015.

“Everything is predicated off a quality start and Robert Tasin has been Mr. Reliable for us this year and he was again today,” Hughes said. “He gave us six quality innings.”

The Sooners struck first on Saturday, thanks in part to Chris Shaw. The junior launched a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center in the top of the second inning to put the Crimson and Cream on top 1-0. The home run is Shaw's sixth of the season.

Just one inning later Oklahoma managed to double its lead to 2-0. The Sooners used a two-out rally to score the run, as Joshua Ake drew a walk followed by a single to right field by Carpenter to put runners on first and second. Anthony Hermelyn came through with the clutch hit, lacing an RBI-single to left field to score Ake and increase OU's lead to two runs in the top of the third.

In the top of the fourth, the Sooners tacked on two more runs to push the score to 4-0. After Taylor Alspaugh led off with a single to center, Haley lifted a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right field for OU's second home run of the day. The blast was the junior's fourth of the season and 12th of his career.

After three innings of hitless baseball, the Kansas State bats awoke in the bottom of the fourth and cut into the Oklahoma lead. The Wildcats used three singles and a safety squeeze to plate two runs and cut their deficit in half to 4-2. The RBIs were provided by Tyler Moore and Max Brown.

Both the Sooner and Wildcat bats were held in check in the fifth and sixth innings, with neither side scoring. In the seventh Oklahoma pushed its fifth run across the plate to make the score 5-2. Carpenter was the catalyst, as the junior doubled to the left field corner and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Hermelyn then knocked Carpenter in with a sacrifice fly to center.

As soon as the top of the seventh ended the rain began to pour and the game was placed under a weather delay due to rain and lightning strikes within 10 miles of the stadium. The delay lasted a total of one hour and 48 minutes.

Upon returning to the field after the weather cleared, Oklahoma handed the ball to reliever Ralph Garza Jr., who posted a perfect seventh and eighth inning to protect the three-run lead at 5-2.

“We had the right guy on the mound after the rain delay,” Hughes said. “Ralph was lights out and was very dominant.”

The Wildcats made it interesting in the ninth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a strikeout by closer Jacob Evans, OU gave up a run off a throwing error by shortstop Sheldon Neuse to make the score 5-3 with runners on second and third with one out. Evans escaped the jam by recording a strikeout and flyout to shallow right field to cement the victory and earn his seventh save of the season.

The Sooners and Wildcats will meet for the third and final time this season on Sunday in the rubber match. OU will try to win its fifth Big 12 series of the season. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

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