For the second time in as many starts, sophomore right-hander Jake Elliott was brilliant as he pitched the University of Oklahoma baseball team to a 10-1 win over Washington in the Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge at Sloan Park on Friday afternoon. The win evened the Sooners' record at 4-4, while the Huskies dropped to 4-2.
“We were struggling [this week],” began head coach Pete Hughes. “We stumbled, which is going to happen during the season, but you also need a guy to get you back on track. Elliott has shown he can be that guy. He was awesome. We needed that kind of performance and it couldn't have come at a better time. He was constantly up in counts and finishing.”
Elliott (2-0) allowed just three hits over seven innings of work. He struck out seven and walked two. The only blemish on his stat line was a solo home run in the seventh by UW first baseman Branden Berry.
The scoring started in the fourth inning for OU. Sophomore shortstop Sheldon Neuse was the team's first lead-off man to reach base as he drew a walk. An error on the Huskies gave the Sooners two runners in scoring position with no outs. In his first appearance of the season since pulling a hamstring, junior Hunter Haley delivered Neuse to the plate with a sacrifice-fly to left.
Sophomore first baseman Austin O'Brien picked up a single through the left side to put runners on the corners and junior Kolbey Carpenter blasted a three-run home run over the fence in left-center. It was Carpenter's second of the season and seventh of his career.
“Our offense had been struggling for a couple of games. There's nothing like a three-run homer to get everyone to relax.”
O'Brien got things started for Oklahoma in the sixth with a one-out single to left. Carpenter walked and redshirt-senior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh advanced both runners with a sacrifice-bunt. Senior third baseman Joshua Ake, making his first start of the season, came through with a two-out, two-strike hit to right field that plated both base runners.
“Two-out, two-strike hits are huge. Ake's a guy that comes to the park every day to win and help the team win. Today he got the job done. I'm very happy for him.”
O'Brien went 2-for-3 with three runs, while Carpenter went 1-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored.
The Sooner bats continued to attack as Washington went to its second reliever of the day. OU loaded the bases on three walks and scored two runs on a pair of wild pitches. Ake picked up his third RBI of the game with a double kicking up chalk behind the third base bag and junior center fielder Craig Aikin pushed the score to 10-1 with a sacrifice-fly.
Senior right-hander Tyler Davis (1-1) took the loss for the Huskies. He pitched six innings and allowed six runs, five earned, on six hits and two walks to go with three strikeouts.
Junior righties Keaton Hernandez and Thomas McIlraith each threw a shutout-inning of relief for Oklahoma.
The Sooners return to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT against Oregon State in Surprise, Ariz.; the spring training home of the Royals and Rangers.
· The Sooners used their seventh different lineup in eight games.
· Kolbey Carpenter hit his second home run of the season and seventh of his career. His home run was the first off of UW starter Tyler Davis since 2013.
· Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Washington, 2-0. The only other meeting was a 19-10 Sooner win in 1992.
· The Sooners have yet to face a left-handed starter through eight games.
· Oklahoma's six through nine hitters combined to go 6-for-12 with seven runs and six RBI.
· Jake Elliott pitched 13-scoreless innings to start the season. He finished one strikeout short of his career-high with seven.
· Alex Wise left the game after being hit by a pitch in the third inning.
· The Sooners' last win over a Pac-12 school was a 4-0 victory at UCLA (3/9/13).
· Joshua Ake collected a career-high three RBI; surpassing his season total of two from 2014.
· Carpenter matched a career-high with the third three-RBI game of his career.
· Oklahoma has allowed just one run in each of its four wins this season.