Sooners Go Yard Four Times to Claim Series
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma baseball team went deep four times in a 13-10 win over Purdue at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday afternoon. The win gave the series to the Sooners, who improved to 12-6 on the season, while the Boilermakers fell to 5-9.
“We have a resilient bunch,” stated head coach Pete Hughes in response to his team winning the series. “[The players] came out here after Friday, flying around ready to go. That's what I preach all the time. College baseball is a sprint, practically playing every day so you don't have time to feel bad for yourself or to let a game beat you twice. It's critical for us this season to not get caught up in that and just stay focused.”
For Oklahoma, it was the second four-home run game of the season. Four different Sooners contributed to the long-ball count, including redshirt-senior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh with a fifth-inning grand slam.
Sophomore shortstop Sheldon Neuse struck first with a solo shot in the top of the third to tie the score, 2-2. Later in the inning, junior left fielder Hunter Haley put Oklahoma in front with a two-run homer to right-center. In the sixth, sophomore first baseman Austin O'Brien hit the furthest ball of the game; a solo shot off the net protecting the scoreboard in deep left-center to push the score to 13-4.
Senior lefty Jeffrey Curran lasted 4.1 innings in the start for the Sooners and struck out a career-high seven in a no-decision. The win went to redshirt-senior right-hander Robert Tasin to move his record to 3-1. He tossed 1.2-innings of relief and allowed one unearned run on one hit and two walks, while striking out two. The OU pitching staff totaled 11 strikeouts in the contest.
“That's the way the numbers are looking,” offered Hughes. “We're striking out a lot of people. You just have to pick your poison. Yes it helps out our defense but it also drives into our bullpen. Everyone loves a strikeout but it has its downsides.”
Oklahoma took the game's first lead in the first inning for the second straight day. A walk and a single put runners on the corners for junior catcher Anthony Hermelyn. Hermelyn lined a base hit up the middle to plate junior center fielder Craig Aikin.
Purdue would take its only lead of the day with a two-run second innings. First baseman Kyle Wood led things off with the first of three consecutive singles for the Boilermakers. The third hit was a RBI-single by center fielder Kyle Johnson that brought in Wood and plated designated hitter Brett Carlson on an error in right on the play.
The OU lead was cut to one in the top of the fourth on a solo home run by Wood. He would finish the day 3-for-4 with three runs driven in and two scored. The Sooners responded with a three-run fourth to extend the lead to 7-3. The Oklahoma rally would start with two outs as Aikin walked and Alspaugh singled. Neuse picked up one RBI on a base hit up the middle and Hermelyn followed with a two-run knock to center.
Right-hander Matt Frawley (0-2) lasted 3.2 innings in the start for Purdue. He was hit for seven runs on eight hits and two walks to go with two strikeouts.
The Sooners totaled 16 hits in the game, including four players with three-hit days. Batting two-through-four, Alspaugh went 3-for-5, Neuse 3-for-4 and Hermelyn 3-for-5. Alspaugh drove in four, Neuse two and Hermelyn three. O'Brien added a 3-for-5 day, while Aikin went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and extended his hit-streak to 12 games.
Oklahoma is back in action on Tuesday night against in-state rival Oral Roberts at home for a 6:00 pm first pitch.
• Craig Aikin extended his hit streak to 12 games. He is hitting .429 (21-for-49) over that stretch. He has also successfully hit in 29 out of 30 games.
• The Sooner pitching staff has struck out 10 or more batters 10 times; all coming in the last 12 games.
• Sheldon Neuse lifted his Big 12-leading RBI total to 22.
• Neuse is hitting .517 (15-for-29) over the last seven games with four home runs and 13 RBI.
• Taylor Alspaugh hit the first Sooner grand slam since Austin O'Brien did so at Oklahoma State (4/15/14). It was the third home run of his career and first of the season.
• Alspaugh set a career-high in RBI with four and matched a career-high with his third three-hit game as a Sooner.
• Jeffrey Curran struck out a career-high seven batters.
• O'Brien hit his third home run of the season, all of which have come at home, and the fifth of his career.
• The Sooners hit multiple home runs in a game for the sixth time this season and fourth in the last five games; matching a season-high four, previously accomplished against BYU (2/28/15).
Cowboys Fall In Extra Innings, Lose Series
STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State came up short of securing its first series win of the 2015 season Sunday afternoon as the 10th-ranked Cowboys dropped a 4-2 decision in 10 innings to No. 27 Illinois at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
David Kerian's two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning was the difference as OSU fell to 8-5 on the season. Illinois improved to 11-3-1.
“It was a little bit of a struggle back and forth for both clubs,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “Mike (Freeman) pitched a good game, kept us in it, and our bullpen came in and did a good job of working in and out of some tough situations and keeping the game tight for us. We had chances offensively to do things and just as a club have not gotten to the point where we're capitalizing on some good pitches to hit.
“You feel good about a tie game at home. Those are normally games where the home team feels a sense of leverage, and it wasn't to be today... We didn't quite have the answer at the end. We need to get better for sure and do a better job of getting our players to their potential. We'll keep working our way towards it and hopefully arrive there sooner than later.”
In a game that saw runs hard to come by, OSU took the game's initial lead in the second. Conor Costello, who had two of the Cowboys' six hits in the contest, led off the inning with a double, and a one-out single by Kevin Bradley put runners on the corners. After Mason O'Brien fouled out, Bryan Case delivered an RBI single to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Illinois was not down long as they tied the game off OSU starter Mike Freeman in the third when, with two outs and a runner on third, Casey Fletcher sent a ground ball down the line that deflected off the first base bag and into right field for a run-scoring single.
Freeman, the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, had another strong outing, allowing just one run on five hits and racking up seven strikeouts, but the senior southpaw was relieved by Trey Cobb to open the sixth inning and the Fighting Illini took advantage.
After a pair of one-out singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, Cobb struck out Will Krug. But the righty uncorked a wild pitch to the next batter to plate the go-ahead run. Following another walk that loaded the bases, Cobb was relieved by Alex Hackerott, who came on and got a three-pitch strikeout to help the Cowboys escape further damage.
OSU would answer in the bottom of the inning, however. Garrett McCain was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and following a sacrifice bunt by Tim Arakawa, Costello delivered an RBI single to tie the score at 2-2.
But that would be the last hit the Cowboys would get until the 10th inning, and while the OSU bullpen was also up to the task, the Fighting Illini got a pair of clutch hits in the final frame.
In the 10th, OSU closer Koda Glover came out of the bullpen and after retiring the first batter he faced gave up a single to Pat McInerney. Up next, Kerian stepped to the plate and deposited a Glover offering over the wall in left field for his second home run of the season.
The Cowboys would bring the tying run to the plate in their final at bat following a two-out single in the bottom of the 10th by Case, but pinch hitter Ryan Sluder grounded out to end the game.
Glover fell to 0-2 with the loss, while Illinois closer Tyler Jay picked up the win to improve to 3-0 after working three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit.
OSU returns to action Tuesday when they open a two-game midweek series against Alcorn State at Reynolds Stadium. First pitch in both the Tuesday and Wednesday games is set for 4 p.m.
Altamirano pitches gem in ORU loss to No. 23 DBU, 4-2
TULSA, Okla. – Junior pitcher Xavier Altamirano took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but the Oral Roberts University baseball team was unable to hold on as No. 23 Dallas Baptist completed the series sweep with a 4-2 victory.
The Golden Eagles fall below .500 for the first time this season as they dropped to 6-7 with the loss, and the Patriots improved to 10-2. The Patriots have taken six straight games against the Golden Eagles.
Altamirano didn't allow a hit until the leadoff batter in the top of the eighth inning with a 2-0 ORU lead. DBU put up a four spot on the scoreboard in the eighth inning for the 4-2 win.
With a pair of runners in scoring position, DBU cut the ORU lead to 2-1 in the top of the eighth with a ground ball to short. However, an errant throw to first allowed the tying run to score.
Inside the Box Score
• Senior Audie Afenir and freshman Nick Roark each had a single and a double in the game. Afenir recorded an RBI and scored a run. Roark's double was his first career hit.
• Emmanuel Forcier reached base with an RBI single, and Chase Stafford had a single and a stolen base.
• Logan Domenico, Noah Cummings and Anthony Sequeira each had singles in the contest.
• Xavier Altamirano went seven innings, allowing just one single and striking out seven. It's the second time in as many starts Altamirano has struck out seven.
• Kyler Stout (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits. None of Stout's runs were earned.
• Trooper Reynolds had a RBI double in the eight, and Duce Tagg picked up an RBI single for DBU.
• Gavin Fritz (1-0) finished the game for the Patriots, earning his first victory of the season in 2.2 innings of work.
• ORU jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first inning as Matt Brandy drew a walk and eventually scored on an Audie Afenir single to left.
• In the home half of the sixth inning, Afenir crossed the plate on a single off the bat of Emmanuel Forcier.
• DBU tied the game at two in the top of the eighth inning as Justin Wall hit a ground ball to second that scored Nash Knight. However, the throw to first was wild, allowing Drew Turbin to cross the plate as the tying run.
• The Patriots gained the lead on an RBI double off the left field wall by Trooper Reynolds, scoring Wall, and Tagg Duce plated Reynolds with a single to bring the score to 4-2.
ORU looks to rebound in its first mid-week game of the season as they hit the road to face Oklahoma at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma.