Freshman right-hander Dylan Grove tossed six shutout-innings and catcher Domenic DeRenzo went yard twice as OU baseball downed Oral Roberts 12-3 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Tuesday evening. The Sooners lifted their record to 22-22-1 overall while the Golden Eagles fell to 26-16.
“We started six and played 10,” regarded head coach Pete Hughes of a freshman-heavy lineup. “Dylan was awesome. There’s a huge learning curve from high school baseball to Division I on the mound. It’s just no longer fastball dominant. You have to control the running game. You have to field your position. You have to be quicker to the plate.”
The OU offense showed up in support of Grove (1-0) immediately with a four-run first and put runs on the board in each of the first four innings. The Sooners added three more in the second as junior shortstop Sheldon Neuse drove in three runs in the first two innings. Senior center fielder Alex Wise and freshman second baseman Thomas Hughes each walked, singled and scored twice in the first two frames.
DeRenzo led off the third with a solo home run and came up again an inning later with the bases loaded. He launched his second home run, a shot deep over the wall in left for his sixth home run in the last six games.
“Honestly, he’s changed his approach to the game to a more focused, mature approach,” Hughes said of DeRenzo. “That’s all it was. It needed to be done and the kid made an adjustment. He was called out in a lot of areas, but good for him to make the adjustment and get more focused. He’s on fire right now.”
Grove had a no-hit bid broken up with one down in the sixth. He finished six-shutout innings with six strikeouts, two walks and just the one hit against him. Only five baserunners reached against Grove, who needed just 76 pitches to get through six innings of work. He stranded a pair in the second and left the bases loaded in his final inning of the night.
“I thought he handled the emotions and the adrenaline of his first start,” Hughes said of Grove. “He’s got 30 relatives in here yelling and screaming for him. He handled it well. It was dominating. The slider, they were swinging at it out of his hand. He works hard. He waits for his opportunity and makes the most of it.”
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Oklahoma against Oral Roberts. The Sooners lead the all-time series, 38-33, including a 21-17 mark in Norman.
For the game, OU outhit ORU, 13-4. Ten different Sooners recorded a hit and three had multi-hit days. Neuse and DeRenzo had two hits along with freshman right fielder Steele Walker, who went 2-for-5 with two RBI. Freshmen hitters combined to go 7-for-16 with eight runs driven in and six scored.
Lefty Trevor McCutchin (2-2) took the loss and lasted just 0.2 innings for the Golden Eagles. He was tagged with four runs on three hits, three walks and two strikeouts. Oral Roberts used seven pitchers in the game.
Oklahoma remains at home this weekend for its final series at L. Dale Mitchell Park this season. The Sooners welcome Kansas State for a Big 12 match-up beginning Friday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m.