Oklahoma Sooners Hosts CSU Bakersfield In Weekend Out-Of-Conference Series

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Sheldon Neuse Leads Sooners In Sweep

The seventh inning was good to Oklahoma baseball this weekend. On Friday night the Sooners used three runs in the seventh to lead them to a 4-2 win over Cal State Bakersfield and in Saturday's first game of the two team's double-header OU posted 10 runs in the seventh frame to boost themselves to a series clinching 17-4 win.

Oklahoma got the three-game sweep in the nightcap of the double header. This time it was an eighth inning rally that put the Sooners ahead for good. Trailing 3-2 going into the frame, the Sooners, who had been error prone themselves, took advantage of mistakes made by the Road Runners to secure the game and the sweep. Josh Ake and Craig Aikin drew back-to-back one-out walks and then Anthony Hermelyn reached on error to load the bases. Sheldon Neuse and Mac James then delivered the tying and go ahead RBIs off a single to right field and sacrifice to center.

With a 4-3 lead Coach Hughes turned to Ralph Garza, Jr to close the game out, and he did so by striking out two batters in the ninth and getting another to pop out.

The win was Oklahoma's third in a row, after dropping their last two coming into the series, and puts the Sooners on a good pace heading into this Tuesday night when they host ORU. However, the story of the day was freshman Sheldon Neuse who did something OU baseball hasn't seen since 1987.

A seventh inning offensive explosion saw fifteen Oklahoma batters, ten runs scored, and eight total hits. Among the hits in that inning were 3-run home runs by Austin O'Brien and Neuse. Fast forward to the next inning and Neuse sent the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for another three-run blast. In back-to-back at bats Neuse delivered six RBI via the long ball. He would finish the game with eight total RBI, which is the most by a Sooner baseball player since Chris Ebright drove in nine against Oklahoma City University on March 18, 1987.

Neuse would finish the weekend 7-for-15 from the plate with two home runs and nine RBI, while the Sooners would break out of their offensive funk by plating 25 runs off 38 hits.

The winning pitchers for Saturday's games were Kindle Ladd (2-1) in the early game and Robert Tasin (3-2) in the second. Both came out of the bullpen to relieve the starters with Ladd going 4.1 scoreless innings and Tasin throwing a one-hit, scoreless eighth,

First pitch in Tuesday night's game against ORU is scheduled for 6:00.

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Saturday's Double Header Game Thread

Due to the threat of inclement weather expected on Sunday, the Sooners and Roadrunners will play a double header on Saturday. The first game is slotted for a 2 PM start while the second game is said to start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first. Adam Choplick and Jake Elliot are the two starting pitcher's for Oklahoma as they go for the series sweep of CSU Bakersfield.

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Sooner Baseball Sound Bytes

Use the media player to listen to post-game interviews

Austin O'Brien and Josh Ake were instrumental parts of Oklahoma's late rally to down Cal State Bakersfield in the first of their three-game series. Afterwards, they both spoke about working their way into the lineup and earning more at bats as the season has progressed. Ake also talked about the significance of the win and moving forward. Coach Hughes spoke on his players gaining confidence as the game wore on, the pitching performance of opponent Taylor Aikenhead and the rest of the pitching match-ups for the weekend.

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Sooners Take Game One 4-2

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Oklahoma's offense got off to another slow start on Friday night and the Sooners found themselves playing from behind once again.

Cal State Bakersfield's Allen Gwyn reached base on error in the top of the second, when Hunter Haley had the ball drop from his glove after crashing into the right field wall, and then came home when Max Carter lined a single up the middle to put the Road Runners up 1-0.

CSUB extended their lead in the fifth when Jordie Hein squared to bunt and was hit by the pitch. Taking first, with two outs, Hein advanced to second on an infield single by Mylz Jones, and then came home on a Chance Gusbeth single to extend the Road Runners' lead to 2-0.

Josh Ake led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and then was sacrificed around to score by Craig Aikin and Dylan Neal to put Oklahoma's first run on the board and draw the Sooners to within 2-1 at the end of the 6th.

With fireworks from the softball field visible overhead from centerfield, the Sooner offense produced their own explosion in the bottom of the seventh. A one-out single by Mac James gave Oklahoma its first base runner of the evening. He then moved all the way around with next at bat when Austin O'Brien tripled to deep left center. With the game tied at 2-2, Hunter Haley put Oklahoma up by a run with a deep shot to right field that put him on second and scored O'Brien. Oklahoma then doubled up Cal State Bakersfield by a score of 4-2 off a Josh Ake single to short that scored Haley.

"I think he got a little tired and started getting up in the zone," Pete Hughes said in regards to CS Bakersfield starter Taylor Aikenhead. "Fortunately we were relaxed enough to take advantage of it."

Aikenhead went seven strong innings and held Oklahoma at bay until things slipped away in the sixth and seventh innings. He was responsible for all four of Oklahoma's runs but it took the Sooners a while to get to him. "That was a strong arm," Hughes continued, "and we've got to beat strong arms to get where we want to go."

That would prove to be the final score as Oklahoma's pitchers closed out the Road Runners by holding them hitless over the final two frames. Coach Hughes used five pitchers in the game and, outside of starter Corey Copping, they should be available for Saturday's doubleheader.

Copping was strong in his start but won't get a decision. He threw six complete innings, striking out five and allowing the two runs off five hits. Kyle Hayes, Jeffrey Curran and Drew Krittenbrink carries OU through the seventh and eighth innings, by holding the Road Runners hitless, before Ralph Garza, Jr. closed it out with a perfect ninth.

Ake and Austin O'Brien had two hits each to combine for four of Oklahoma's seven for the game. They both drove in runs and were instrumental to the Sooners' rally in the seventh.

"Tonight was a good win for us," Ake said. "Getting those runs in the seventh took a lot of weight off our shoulders and I think we'll be good the rest of the way."

Sheldon Neuse, Mac James, and Hunter Haley also contributed hits, with Haley's knock to deep right field possibly being the biggest hit of the night.

Oklahoma and Cal State Bakersfield will conclude their series on Saturday with a double-header that starts at 2:00.

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Baseball Game Thread | CSU Bakersfield At OU

CSU Bakersfield (11-16) at Oklahoma (20-10)

Location:

Norman, Okla. - L. Dale Mitchell Park (3,180)

Radio:

KREF Sports Talk 1400 AM / 98.5 FM
Toby Rowland
Chris Plank

TV:

FOX College Sports-Central (Fri.-Sun.)
FSSW+ (Saturday)
Chad McKee
Jay Payton

Live Stats:

SoonerSports.com

Game Info:

Game Notes (PDF)

Pitching Match-Ups

6:00 PM Friday:

RHP-Corey Copping (So., 2-0, 3.42)
LHP-Taylor Aikenhead (Sr., 4-3, 2.91)

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