Junior pitcher Ralph Garza Jr. pitched his first-career complete game as the No. 12 University of Oklahoma baseball team extended its winning streak to 11 straight games with a 3-1 win Tuesday night at Oral Roberts.
After he gave up a run in the first inning, the right-hander hurled eight scoreless frames for the Sooners (23-4), who played their first road contest in 11 games against the in-state Golden Eagles (8-16). Garza added a career high 11 strikeouts and faced just 29 batters on the night.
Before tonight, Garza's longest outing was 4.1 innings, and the most strikeout he threw was five, both two weeks ago against New Mexico State.
"I thought Garza was outstanding, and a big assist goes to coach Jack Giese, he's been working with Ralph on his slider," OU head coach Sunny Golloway said. "I thought the first inning it was kind of flat, maybe he was over throwing it, trying to get too much break. Coach talked to him, tutored him in between innings and he tightened it up. It's not so much how his slider breaks, it's where it finishes, and once he figured that out it was a big time out-pitch for him. Ralph hasn't really had an out-pitch until then, so I thought from the pitching side I thought it was outstanding."
Designated hitter Matt Oberste roped a single to shallow center in the seventh inning to extend his hit streak to a school record-tying 27 games. The junior has recorded a hit in every game this season.
The Sooners first run came courtesy of a Max White double in the third inning. After senior Jack Mayfield singled through the left side, White sent a two-bagger to left field that scored Mayfield easily.
Oklahoma added two more runs and took the lead in the fourth, thanks to a pair of back-to-back, bases loaded walks. Anthony Hermelyn walked to lead off the inning, and Garrett Carey was hit by pitch. After two outs were recorded, Craig Aikin singled to load the bases. White drew a four-pitch walk to bring Hermelyn home. With Guillermo Trujillo in to pitch, Oberste walked on five pitches to bring in the final OU runner.
"Offensively, we put guys in scoring position," Golloway said. "We were a little frustrated not getting another big hit to open it up with the bases loaded and men in scoring position, but we got the key hits we needed. You have to tip your caps, Oral Roberts pulled in a home run in that would have been a three run homer, and they made some big-time plays in the infield. They kept the ball in the infield, their shortstop is very talented. They're a good team, they pitched really well."
OU had multiple scoring opportunities to break the game open, but left 11 men on base. Oral Roberts defenders played a large role in that with several impressive plays in the field. Left fielder Logan Domenico robbed Mayfield of a home run in the fourth that would have scored three.
"I don't think people realize, because of their record, how good Oral Roberts is," Golloway said. "They're going to fair very well in their conference, so I think this will be a very good win for us."
Oklahoma returns home for the series with Big 12 rival Kansas Thursday-Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Golden Eagles hit the road this weekend for a three game set at conference foe Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.