The University of Oklahoma baseball team bounced back with a series-evening, 10-1 win over Kansas State in front of 1,687 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday afternoon. The Sooners evened their record at 23-23-1 overall and 8-12 in the Big 12, while the Wildcats evened out at 24-24 and 6-11.
For the third game in a row, Oklahoma put runs on the board in each of the first three innings as it claimed an early 4-0 lead. The Sooners got leadoff-singles in each frame as senior center fielder Alex Wise (Neosho, Mo.) singled in the bottom of the third and scored on a base hit to right from junior shortstop Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas)to start the scoring.
“We did a good job of situational hitting and we ran the bases well,” commented head coach Pete Hughes. “We scored in situational opportunities and advanced runners well. When the ball is in play and you cut down your strikeouts, good things happen, and that’s what we did.”
Junior left fielder Cody Thomas(Colleyville, Texas) lined a leadoff-double to start the second, was sacrificed to third after a walk and scored on a RBI-groundout from Wise. The third started with a base hit from junior third baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) and a double by Neuse. Flansburg scored on a sacrifice-fly off the bat of junior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) and Neuse came in on a RBI-fielder’s choice hit into by Thomas.
After K-State got on the board against freshman right-hander Jake Irvin(Bloomington, Minn.) in the fourth with a single run, OU responded with six runs on five hits in the fifth. Neuse walked to lead off as the Sooners would bat around in the inning. O’Brien drove in the first run of the frame on a fielder’s choice and freshman catcher Domenic DeRenzo (Pittsburgh, Pa.) had the big knock; a two-run triple.
Irvin (4-1) pitched a career-best seven innings in the win. He scattered six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Right-hander Levi MaVorhis (5-4) took the loss for Kansas State in four innings of work. He allowed four runs on six hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
“You could see it in his demeanor,” Hughes said of Irvin. “I think it was the Oklahoma State start where he had a great night that got things going. You just need that one outing to make you feel good about things and give you some confidence. There were a lot of good things from him. He wasn’t overpowering and was pitching to contact, but he was efficient.”
The Sooners outhit the Wildcats, 11-8, in the game. The OU players posted multi-hit games. Flansburg and Thomas each went 2-for-4 and Neuse went 2-for-3.
The rubber-match of the series will be played at 1:0