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OU Baseball: Sooners Storm Back With Seven-Run Seventh

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OU Athletics OU Athletics
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky -

The second-seeded University of Oklahoma baseball team used a seven-run, seven-hit seventh inning to top three-seed Xavier, 7-2, in its NCAA Regional opener at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville, Ky., on Friday afternoon. The Sooners (35-22) will face the winner of No. 1-seed and host school Louisville versus four-seed Radford in the winners' bracket Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.

Xavier ace Zac Lowther (5-5) stymied the Sooners for six innings, allowing just two hits and giving up no runs while striking out seven, but OU chased him with their explosion in the seventh.

With Oklahoma trailing 2-0, right fielder Domenic DeRenzo blasted a one-out triple to right center to set the table. Second baseman Kyle Mendenhall kept the inning rolling when he reached first on an error by the catcher after striking out to give OU men on the corners with just one out. Shortstop Brandon Zaragoza then walked to load the bases for left fielder Cade Harris.

Harris one-hopped the wall in right center to clear the bases and put OU up 3-2. That 3-RBI double chased Lowther. The Sooners then unleashed a hit parade, following Harris with five straight singles, including RBI-hits from Jack Flansburg, Steele Walker and Brylie Ware, to plate four more runs and give OU a five-run lead headed to the eighth.

Sooner starter Devon Perez (6-2) pitched beautifully for Oklahoma, striking out seven of his own while allowing just two runs on six hits to earn the win. Perez pounded the strike zone all afternoon for OU, walking just one batter on 107 pitches.

The Musketeers opened the scoring in the second. After a leadoff single from Will Larue and then a bunt single by Mitch Gallagher put runners on first and second, catcher Nate Soria doubled down the left field line. Larue scored easily, and the Sooners nearly cutdown Gallagher on a close play at the plate, but Xavier put two runs on the board. Perez was able to limit the damage however, striking out the next three batters to end the inning.

Harris had a day in the field as well for the Sooners. Xavier looked to extend its early lead to 3-0 in the sixth when Larue singled to shallow left. Rylan Bannon, who had reached on a one-out double, tried to score from second but Harris came up gunning and delivered a strike to catcher Renae Martinez who applied the tag in time to log the out. 

-OU Athletics-

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