The University of Oklahoma baseball team came away with a split of a doubleheader with BYU at Cashman Field on Friday. The Sooners fell in the opener, 4-3, and picked up a 3-2 win in the nightcap to move to 8-5 on the season, while the Cougars' record now stands at 2-9.
Oklahoma has found itself down early in all three games of the series and has come back to tie or take the lead in all three. In game two, BYU got a run across in the first for the second time in the series. Lead-off man Brennon Lund got on with a single, stole second and scored on a RBI single by third baseman Parker Starr.
After giving up the run in the first on three hits, senior lefty Jeffrey Curran settled in. The Sooner bats came to his defense in the second as junior left fielder Hunter Haley led off with a double to right field. Junior second baseman Kolbey Carpenter singled to put two runners in scoring position. Despite grounding into a double play, Haley was able to race home with the game-tying run off a groundball from sophomore first baseman Austin O'Brien.
Oklahoma took the lead in the sixth inning as junior center fielder Craig Aikin knocked a leadoff double off the wall in right field. A sacrifice-but from redshirt-senior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh moved Aikin to third where he eventually crossed the plate on a balk to go on top, 2-1.
BYU tied the game in the eighth. The frame started with a pinch-hit single for Tanner Chauncey. A sacrifice-bunt moved the pinch-runner Andy Isom into scoring position. A walk put two men aboard and then Cougar shortstop Hayden Nielsen drove in the tying run on a single to center field that scored Isom. Third baseman Parker Starr followed with a single to right field, but Alspaugh preserved a 2-2 score by gunning down the runner Lund at home plate.
In the bottom of the eighth, redshirt-senior designated hitter Robert Tasin (Klein, Texas) hit a lead-off double to left-center; the third leadoff double for OU in the game. Junior pinch-runner Alex Wise was bunted over to third by senior third baseman Joshua Ake. With two outs, Alspaugh hit a groundball through the BYU first baseman's legs to score Wise with the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.
Curran lasted 7.1 innings in the start with six hits and two runs allowed to go with five strikeouts. Junior left-hander Jacob Evans picked up the win to go to 2-0 on the season in 1.1 innings of relief. He surrendered two hits and struck out one.
For the Cougars, right-hander Brandon Kinser pitched an eight-inning complete game. He allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits, while striking out four.
In the opener, Oklahoma fell behind 2-0 in the fourth and after getting a run back, trailed 3-1 in the fifth. Ake opened the bottom of the seventh with a double to right-center and Alspaugh reached on an infield-single to put runners on the corners for the Sooners. Sophomore shortstop Sheldon Neuse singled up the middle to bring home Ake and cut the lead to one. Junior catcher Anthony Hermelyn immediately followed with a RBI single to center to tie the game.
BYU went ahead for good in the top of the ninth. With two outs, left fielder Derek Whitney blasted a solo home run over the wall in right field to put the Cougars in front, 4-3.
Junior right-hander Keaton Hernandez dropped to 0-1 on the season in the loss out of the bullpen. Sophomore RHP Alec Hansen pitched a career-high seven innings and struck out eight batters. In the no-decision, he scattered six hits and two walks, while giving up two runs.
Right-handed reliever Michael Rucker (1-0) got the win for BYU in 2.2-scoreless innings. He struck out two and gave up four hits. Fellow righty Jeff Barker pitched six innings in the start and allowed one run on three hits and a walk to go with five strikeouts.
• Jacob Evans earned the 12th win of his career.
• Oklahoma leads the all-time series against BYU, 7-2, including 4-1 in games played in Las Vegas.
• The Sooners have posted two or more doubles in each of the last four games.
• Oklahoma starting pitchers have lasted seven or more innings in five out of 13 starts this season.
• Jeffrey Curran set career-highs in innings pitched (7.1) and strikeouts (5).
• Craig Aikin, whose 17-game hit streak ended at Arizona State last week, has responded with a seven-game hit streak since then.