The University of Oklahoma baseball team came away with its second split in as many days to wrap up opening weekend. The Sooners, now 3-2, opened the day with a 5-1 loss to Notre Dame before defeating Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 9-1, in the finale.
Despite just six hits in the nightcap, Oklahoma succeeded by reaching base in a variety of ways and capitalizing on Cougar mistakes during the early innings. Leading 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Sooners plated five runs on just one hit; a RBI infield-single by sophomore first baseman Austin O'Brien. In the eighth, O'Brien capped off the weekend with a solo home run down the right field line; his second on the young season and fourth of his career.
Redshirt-senior right-handed pitcher Robert Tasin earned the win in five-scoreless innings. He faced the minimum batters, erasing all three hits allowed with two groundball double plays and a caught base stealer. Tasin also totaled three strikeouts for the contest and hit seventh in the OU lineup.
Junior center fielder Craig Aikin opened the third inning with a double down the right field line to continue his 17-game hit streak; dating back to last season. He would come around to score on a sacrifice-fly by junior Anthony Hermelyn, who led the Sooners with seven RBI in five games this weekend.
The Fighting Irish started strong in the opener; recording three of its five runs in the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, right fielder Robert Youngdahl walked to push across the first run of the day. First baseman Zak Kutsulis grounded out to short to bat in Cavan Biggio and designated hitter Blaise Lezynski scored on a wild pitch.
In the third, Biggio doubled to right-center and was plated after a Youngdahl RBI single. Biggio recorded a triple to right-center in the seventh and scored again after another Youngdahl RBI to extend the Irish lead to 5-0.
OU battled in the bottom of the eighth when junior Craig Aikin doubled down the right field line, keeping his hit streak alive, and later scored thanks to a Notre Dame throwing error, but the Sooners' one-run comeback fell short.
Redshirt-junior LHP Adam Choplick took the loss for the Sooners, recording four strikeouts in four innings. The redshirt junior gave up four runs on four hits. Junior righty Keaton Hernandez came in for relief and allowed only one run in 3.1 innings pitched.
Right-hander Nick McCarty picked up the win for the Irish, allowing only four hits and no earned runs in 7.2 innings pitched. Peter Solomon relieved McCarty and allowed only one hit in the last 1.1 innings to earn the save as he entered with two men aboard in the eighth.
The Sooners have a quick turnaround this week as they head to Arizona for five games; beginning Wednesday, February 18 at Arizona State. Following the game against the Sun Devils, Oklahoma plays four games in the Big 12/Pac-12 Challenge at various spring training sites in the Phoenix area.
· Craig Aikin extended his career-best hitting streak to 17 games with a double in each game. He is hitting .474 (36-for-76) over that stretch.
· Anthony Hermelyn totaled seven runs batted in in five games.
· Oklahoma hitters struck out just 18 times to 27 base on balls plus six hit-by-pitches.
· Four relievers were used in game two, including OU debuts by redshirt-junior RHP Cole Stevens and junior LHP Shawn Hunter.
· Oklahoma totaled 3,723 in attendance; falling 31 short of the opening weekend record set in 2014 vs. Seton Hall.
· Carpenter is a .438 (7-for-16) hitter in four career games against Notre Dame.
· LHP Jacob Evans was the only Sooner pitcher to appear in two games this weekend.
· Oklahoma totaled nine stolen bases, including two for Aikin, Tasin and Walbergh.
· The Sooners used five different lineups on the weekend.