"It certainly wasn't pretty but it was a win." It seems like we're saying that a lot about this Oklahoma baseball team but at the end of the day as long as your notching another mark in the win column things aren't going to be as bad as they seem. The Sooners struggled once again from the mound on Wednesday afternoon and were held to just seven hits as a team but once again Jordan John was there to save the day.
Starter Jacob Rhame was strong in first appearance of the year. The Sooner freshman kept the Lions off the board until the fourth inning when the game was tied up on a UAPB single that scored Christian Weeber. As for Rhame's entire body of work he threw five innings allowing just one run on three hits and struck out three batters as well. Not a bad performance for a guy taking the mound for the first time, especially a freshman.
Oklahoma responded in the bottom half of the fourth inning by scoring three runs to take a 4-1 lead. Max White was responsible for driving in two of the runs with a single to right field and Jack Mayfield scored the other run on a wild pitch. The Sooners scored their fifth and final run in the bottom of the fifth when Evan Mistich hit a single shot home run to left field. From that point on they had to hang on through some rough pitching outings.
Ty Taylor came in for Rhame and also delivered a solid performance allowing just two hits and one run to score over the next two innings of work. Then he was replaced by Steven Bruce who gave up one hit, committed two errors and hit a batter while pitching one third of an inning. Bruce was responsible for two Arkansas Pine Bluff runs scoring to draw the game to within 5-4.
Damien Magnifico made a cameo appearance in the eighth and gave up a hit to the only batter he faced. With the tying run on second base Jordan John came into the game in the eighth and pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out two of the six batters he faced. He did put one batter on base in the eighth by hitting him with a pitch but closed out the game by retiring the side in straight order in the ninth. It was John's second save this season.
OU is now on a five game winning streak as the prepare to play Connecticut on Friday in their opening game of the Nike Showcase. To be honest, this series against Arkansas Pine Bluff did little to bolster the confidence in Oklahoma's batting or development of pitching. The Sooners will play four games in the Showcase which obviously means they need four starters over the weekend. Hmmmmm...