The No. 23 University of Oklahoma baseball team opened a road series at West Virginia with a 2-0 win in front of 1,719 at Monongalia County Ballpark, Friday evening. The Sooners improved to 25-15 overall and 9-4 in the Big 12 behind a dominant effort from Jake Elliott(Coppell, Texas) and a two-run home run in the eighth by Kolbey Carpenter (Waco, Texas).
Elliott (4-3), the OU sophomore right-hander, pitched 7.1-shutout innings and went pitch-for-pitch with the Mountaineers' (21-14, 4-6) right-hander BJ Myers (2-2). The two pitchers matched zeroes on the scoreboard through the first seven innings with over 100 pitches each. Carpenter, the Sooners' junior second baseman, broke the tie in the top of the eighth with a two-run shot over a 20' wall at the 375' mark in left-center.
“It's a good sign for your team and its toughness and make-up when you win on Friday; tight games on the road and execute,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “Our guys did it. You're going to get good pitching; you're going to get pitched to tough in this league on Friday nights and that's what happened. I thought Myers did a great job keeping us off balance, but a mature team figures out a way to win in the end and that's what our guys did.
“He struggled early on with his feel,” Hughes commented about the start from Elliott. “He started throwing his secondary stuff early in counts and once he started getting up early on hitters with the soft stuff, that's when he took command of the game.”
Oklahoma started the eighth with a lead-off base hit from junior left fielder Hunter Haley(Nacogdoches, Texas) through the left-side. He went first-to-third on a two-strike, sacrifice-bunt by senior third baseman Joshua Ake (Readington, N.J.). Carpenter then strode to the dish with one of the Sooners' three hits to that point and on a 3-0 pitch went yard for his team-leading seventh jack of the season.
Elliott picked up his first career Big 12 win as he struck out eight and surrendered just two hits. He retired 10 in a row, including five strikeouts, beginning with one on and no outs in the fourth. After getting the lead-off man out in the eighth, Hughes turned to junior right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. (New Braunfels, Texas). Garza walked one then struck out the next two to send the game to the ninth. Junior lefty Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) came on for the ninth and struck out the side for his fifth save of the season.
“That's how we've got it dialed up,” Hughes said regarding the setup work of Garza and save from Evans. “No matter what happens, you feel great because you trust those guys and you feel great that your team put those guys in a position to have success.”
At the plate, Carpenter finished the game 2-for-4 as he started the night with a lead-off single through the left-side in the top of the first. Redshirt-senior designated hitter Robert Tasin (Klein, Texas) added a 2-for-3 night to go with an intentional-walk.
For West Virginia, Myers totaled 7.2 innings in the start as he scatter five hits and four walks, while adding 10 strikeouts.
Oklahoma and West Virginia take the field for game two Saturday at 3:00 pm CT. Sophomore RHP Alec Hansen (Loveland, Colo.) gets the nod for the Sooners.