The University of Oklahoma baseball team put up a pair of crooked numbers early in a 12-2 rout of Dallas Baptist at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Tuesday night. The Sooners improved to 15-14-1 overall, while the Patriots fell to 18-10.
Oklahoma had lost each of its last eight match-ups with Dallas Baptist dating back to 2011.
“I know we’ve always had a tough time with them since I’ve been here,” recalled head coach Pete Hughes. “They’re a good program and well coached. So that was fun, it’s good to play well in a midweek game against a high-level opponent.”
The game got off to a shaky start for Sooner freshman right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.), who struck out two batters in the first, but walked the bases loaded before getting a groundball to strand all three.
The Oklahoma offense responded with five runs in the bottom half of the first as each of the first three batters reached on a base hit. Junior shortstop Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) brought in the first run of the game with a base hit up the middle to score freshman third baseman Cade Harris (Leona, Texas).
Junior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) extended the Sooner lead with a two-run single up the middle. Freshman designated hitter Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) then doubled to put two in scoring position for senior left fielder Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas), who brought in both with an opposite-field single to left that made it a 5-0 OU lead.
“This is how you go on some stretches, especially if you can get the bats hot while playing well,” continued Hughes. “Baylor is pretty good, but we’re so caught up on trying to become a better team, it doesn’t really matter who we play against. We get caught up in playing better baseball so all these young kids grow up, and that’s our goal every game. They’re starting to respond to things and make less mistakes.”
Neuse led off the third with a solo home run over the 410’ mark in center field, his sixth of the year. Oklahoma would bat around and score six runs on four hits and three DBU errors. Junior second baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) picked up a double and junior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas) added a RBI-single.
Irvin (1-0) earned the first win of his career. He struck out five and allowed two runs on five hits and three walks, including a solo home run off the top of the wall down the left field line to Patriots center fielder David Martinelli. Right-hander MD Johnson (2-2) went 2.1 innings and was hammered for 10 runs, seven earned, on nine hits and a walk.
The Sooners outhit the Patriots, 13-7, for the game. Eight starters recorded a hit and four went for multi-hit games. Walker finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Neuse and Hollas each recorded a pair of hit and a pair of RBI, while O’Brien drove in a team-leading three runs.
Oklahoma remains at home this weekend when Baylor comes to town. The series gets underway Friday, April 8 at 6:00 pm.
Oklahoma snapped an eight-game losing streak in the series with Dallas Baptist. OU last defeated OU on April 27, 2010.
The Sooners lead the all-time series with the Patriots, 22-10.
The Sooners started three or more freshmen for the 18th time in 20 games and the 19th time overall this season.
Sheldon Neuse stretched his reached base streak to 13 games with a first inning-single.
Neuse’s home run was his team-leading sixth of the season and 19th of his career. He has homered in back-to-back games four times in his career.
The Sooners are 8-2-1 when scoring in the first inning and 9-5-1 when scoring first this season.
Oklahoma repeated its batting order for the first time this season having used the same lineup in back-to-back games.
OU matched its season-high for runs in an inning with six in the third. They have scored six in an inning three times this season and last did so at CSU Bakersfield (3/19).
Steele Walker posted his first three-hit game of the year.
Jake Irvin earned his first career win on the mound. Sooner freshman have accounted for 11 of the team’s 15 wins and newcomers have totaled 13 wins.
Austin Kerns made his first relief appearance of the year and pitched in his first game since starting against Mississippi State (3/6) at Dodger Stadium.
Alex Wise posted his 10th multi-hit game of the season.
Oklahoma 12, Dallas Baptist 2 (Apr 05, 2016 at Norman, Okla.)
Dallas Baptist...... 000 020 000 - 2 7 3 (18-10)
Oklahoma............ 506 010 00X - 12 13 0 (15-14-1)
Pitchers: Dallas Baptist - Johnson; Stutzman(3); Weaver(5); Fritz(5); Wilson(6) and Duce;
Wolforth. Oklahoma - Irvin, Jake; Daniele, Alex(6); Kerns, Austin(6); Hansen, Alec(8);
Grove, Dylan(9) and DeRenzo, Domenic; Martinez, Renae.
Win-Irvin, Jake(1-0) Loss-Johnson(2-2) T-2:54 A-820
HR DBU - Martinelli (4).
HR OU - Neuse, Sheldon (6).
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 84, SW 26 MPH