Sooners Walk Off in Extra Innings
NORMAN, Okla. – For the second straight game, redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh picked up the game-winning hit on the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning to propel the University of Oklahoma baseball team to a 4-3 extra-inning win over Belmont at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday night. The Sooners improved to 13-5, while the Bruins dropped to 7-10.
"I'm really happy for [Alspaugh]," said coach Pete Hughes. "He is a kid who is riding with a lot of confidence right now. It always seems like he is up there in that situation to be able to give us a quality at-bat and he has done it."
Oklahoma loaded the bases with nobody out to open the 10th frame. Freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse lined a double to the wall in right field to lead off and went to third on a sacrifice bunt that saw senior pinch-hitter Dylan Neal reach on an error.
An intentional walk to junior first baseman Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas) brought sophomore left fielder Hunter Haley to the plate with no outs. After a Belmont pitching change, Haley battled through an eight-pitch at-bat before grounding into a fielder's choice as the Bruins got the force of Neuse at home plate. The infield moved to double play depth, but the outfield moved in and Alspaugh placed a single into the left-center gap to plate the winning run in walk-off fashion.
Three Sooner relievers combined to throw seven scoreless-innings. Sophomore right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. got the win with a quick 1-2-3 top of the 10th to improve to 2-0. Senior right-hander Kyle Hayes was the first out of the bullpen and tossed four shutout-innings, while allowing just one hit and one walk to go with three strikeouts. Redshirt-senior righty Drew Krittenbrink followed with four strikeouts across two innings of work and two hits allowed.
"Nothing but zeroes from the fourth inning on," Hughes stated. "That's a veteran presence in your bullpen and those guys can just settle everyone down and give our offense a chance to get back in the game."
Belmont scored all three of its runs early with one in the first and two in the third. Sophomore right-hander Corey Copping started and lasted just three innings for OU. He allowed all three runs on four hits and one walk, while striking out a pair.
After falling behind in the top of the first, Oklahoma answered with a run of its own in the bottom half. The Sooners loaded the bases with nobody out, but Bruin starting right-hander Austin Coley yielded just one run on a groundball double play and ended the threat with another groundball out. Coley finished the night after seven innings. He surrendered two runs, one earned, on five hits and five walks to go with three strikeouts.
Oklahoma rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sophomore Kolbey Carpenter got it started with a one-out, pinch-hit single through the right side. Junior second baseman Keach Ballard was hit by a pitch and a groundout to the right side put both runners in scoring position with two outs. With sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn at the plate, Belmont right-handed reliever Chase Cunningham (1-2) skipped a wild pitch to the backstop to bring in Carpenter with the game-tying run. Cunningham took the loss in one inning of work; allowing two runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out a pair.
"[Carpenter and Neal] have been on the bench for a while now," concluded Hughes. "Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, they were ready. I told them exactly what we needed and those guys—unselfish guys are ready in those situations to deliver when you haven't played a whole lot. It was a good team win."
For the game, the Sooners outhit the Bruins, 8-7. Fifteen different players recorded a hit in the game.
Oklahoma and Belmont play again on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Giller pitches shutout in mercy rule victory over NWLA, 15-0
Tulsa, Okla. – The Southland Conference season started with a bang for the Oral Roberts University baseball team as the Golden Eagles blew out Northwestern State 15-0 in seven innings, at J.L. Johnson Stadium on Friday.
ORU moved back to .500 with the victory, improving to 8-8 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while the Demons dropped to 0-1 in the conference a 7-9 overall.
Kurt Giller (1-2) went all seven innings in the mercy rule shutout victory, striking out a season high eight batters. It was the first time he had eight or more strikeouts since April 6, 2012, and his first complete game shutout since April 12, 2012.
Audie Afenir had the big hit in the contest with a grand slam into the Golden Eagle bullpen in a seven-run first inning. Jose Trevino finished the evening three for three at the plate with an RBI and three runs scored, while Brandon Healy and Austen Colt each picked up three hits as well.
Junior Matt Brandy extended his hitting streak in the contest to 17 games. ORU out hit the Demons 14-6 in the game.
Leading the Demons at the plate was Joel Atkinson with a pair of singles. Hunter Duvic (0-3) took the loss in just a third of an inning as he allowed six runs.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the first, highlighted by a three-run double by Tyler Boss off the base of the wall in left center, and Afenir's grand slam. Healy recorded two hits in the first with a one-out double for the first hit of the game and a two-out single.
All seven of the Golden Eagles runs came with one out in the inning.
ORU added its eighth run of the game in the second inning as Trevino led off with a double into the left field corner and scored two batters later on a single to left by Colt.
After two scoreless innings, the Golden Eagles added four more runs in the top of the fifth to expend its lead to 12-0. Brandy flew out to deep center to score Derrian James on a sacrifice fly, just before Trevino singled on the first pitch on the next at bat to drive in Domenico.
Two batters later, Colt delivered a two-run single, driving in Healy and Trevino.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Afenir scored on a wild pitch by Demon reliever Fielding Matkins. A few batters later, Brandy singled up the middle to plate James and Graham McIntyre to make the score 15-0.
Giller sat Atkinson down swinging to finish the game in the top of the seventh.
The Golden Eagles and Demons will take part in a doubleheader at J.L. Johnson Stadium on Saturday in a set that was moved up in anticipation of inclement weather. First pitch of game one is scheduled for noon, with game two beginning approximately 30 minutes after the completion of game one.
Cowboys Split Doubleheader With UTPA
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State split a Friday doubleheader with Texas-Pan American at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, dropping the opener by a 3-1 count before rallying for a 4-3 win in the nightcap.
The 15th-ranked Cowboys, who are now 13-6, will try for their third series win of the season Saturday against UTPA (10-10) in a game that has been rescheduled for a noon start due to the likelihood of rain.
Friday's victory marked OSU's seventh come-from-behind win of the season as Cowboy senior Saulyer Saxon came up with a clutch pinch-hit in the eighth inning that allowed closer Brendan McCurry to earn his second win of the year.
"It was an important win, no question, and a good response by our kids after a tough loss in game one," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. "We were on the brink of breaking that thing (game one) open and didn't quite do it, and we had to bounce back pretty quick. It was a good response and a good win. There was some clutch hitting, and Brendan (McCurry) slammed the door."
OSU took the game's first lead in the second inning. Zach Fish led off the frame with an infield single, and after a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, Robie Rojas brought Fish home with an RBI single.
However, the Broncs tied the score in the fourth, then plated a pair of runs on a two-out single by Alex Howe to take the lead off OSU starter Jon Perrin in the fifth.
OSU answered in the sixth. Fish crushed a solo home run, his fourth of the season, to get things going. After Gage Green followed the blast with a double, Andrew Rosa grounded out for the second out of the inning. But back-to-back walks loaded the bases.
With the bases full, UTPA called on Tanner Dickerson out of the bullpen, but he promptly walked pinch hitter Dustin Williams to bring home the tying run and make it 3-3.
That score stood until the eighth. With one out, Craig McConaughy walked and stole second. Saxon then delivered an opposite-field single off Matthew Harrell to bring home the go-ahead run as the Cowboys took a 4-3 advantage.
McCurry did the rest in the ninth, retiring the Broncs in order, two of those outs coming via strikeout.
McCurry's effort came on the heels of two scoreless innings of relief by freshman Blake Battenfield, who came on for Perrin to start the sixth.
Fish finished the nightcap 3-for-4, while Green and Aaron Cornell each added two hits.
Friday's opener was not as positive for the Cowboys, who couldn't solve UTPA starter Sam Street.
Street improved to 5-0 on the season with 8 2/3 innings that saw him scatter eight hits and strike out four while allowing just one run.
UTPA got to Cowboy starter Tyler Nurdin early, scoring in three of the first four innings to take a 3-0 lead.
The Cowboys' lone run came in the fourth. Green led off the inning with a single, and a one-out single by Williams put runners on the corners for McConaughy, who brought Green home with a sacrifice bunt.
OSU made things interesting in the ninth. Following a leadoff walk to Fish, Street retired the next two Cowboys before Saxon singled to center and Tim Arakawa walked to load the bases. Harrell then came out of the bullpen and got Donnie Walton to ground into a force out to seal the win and earn his first save of the season.
The Cowboys outhit UTPA in the opener, 8-6, but OSU left 11 runners stranded on the base paths.
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