It wasn't pretty at times but it was effective as the Sooners overcame pitching struggles and a few offensive droughts to sweep their weekend series against Hartford. Wins on Friday, Saturday and Sunday improved Oklahoma's record to 4-2 but also showed that Sunny Golloway and his staff still have a lot of work to do.
Sooners Take Game One, 9-6: It was a lot closer than anyone wanted it to be but at the end of the day it was still a win and it evened Oklahoma's season record up at 2-2. For the second weekend in a row the Sooners have won their opening game in a series and this time they did it with the largest offensive output to this point of the season.
After a scoreless first inning the Sooners struck for two runs in the second while starting pitcher Dillon Overton held Hartford at bay. Things got a bit interesting in the third when Hartford tied the game at 2-2 but a two-run blast by freshman catcher Hunter Lockwood put the Sooners back up 4-2. OU struck again in the fourth on an RBI by Matt Oberste to expand the lead to 5-2. Ty Taylor knocked in a run in the fifth and Oklahoma was cruising along with a 6-2 lead. Lockwood went yard again in the sixth and with a 7-2 lead it appeared that the Sooners were about to blow the doors open into a full-fledged rout. That's when Hartford's Ryan Lukach hit a 2-RBI double to draw the game back to within three runs at 7-4. A 2-RBI triple in the 8th by Oklahoma's Eric Ross gave the Sooners a five run advantage again and the arrival of closer Damien Magnifico on the mound brought about the game ending drama.
Reaching pitches as high as 105mph Magnifico was all over the place. He fanned one batter and got two others to pop out but in between the three outs he walked two batters, hit two more and gave up a hit allowing Hartford to score two more runs in the closing inning.
Dillon Overton was stronger in his start today than he was last Friday. He pitched 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts but he also gave up four runs. Jordan John was great again in relief. He struck out two of the four batters he faced in 1.1 innings of work and didn't put a man on base.
Offensively the player of the game was Lockwood who went yard twice with three RBI. Game two of the series is set for a 2:00PM start.
Sooners Win Game Two, 10-5: Oklahoma just can't make anything easy early in the baseball season. The Sooners will win their first series of 2012 after taking a 2-0 series lead on Hartford but it didn't come without a few intense moments. Starting pitcher Jonathan Gray struggled for the second weekend in a row and now could see his status as a weekend starter in jeopardy. He only survived two innings and in that time he gave up four runs on five hits. Jordan John came in for the second time this season as the "middle reliever" and etched out a win to have the best record among Oklahoma's staff. He faced 21 batters over 6 innings and only allowed one run. When Gray left the mound after the top of the second Oklahoma was facing a 4-0 deficit. John helped turn that into a 10-5 over the next six innings.
Things got off to a bad start for OU when Hartford's Andy Drexel knocked in Simon Kudernatsch in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead. Kudernatsch then hit a 3 RBI triple in the top of the second to extend Hartford's lead to 4-0 and the Sooners were up against the ropes. Oklahoma would respond with two runs in the bottom of the second to cut the lead in half at 4-2 then in the third freshman Hunter Lockwood added one more with a single shot homerun to pull OU to within 4-3. The Sooners took a 6-4 lead in the fifth when the bats of Caleb Bushyhead and Garrett Carey knocked in three runs. Lockwood hit an RBI double in the sixth and the Oklahoma plated three more runners in the seventh to get to 10 runs for the game.
Sooners Get The Sweep With 8-3 Win: Starter Steven Okert went eight solid innings allowing only three runs on nine hits while also striking out nine of the 34 batters he faced. Freshman Hunter Lockwood went yard again but the Sooners only managed two hits all day...and yet they still plated eight runs.
The Sooners are home again on Tuesday when they play UT Arlington. They travel to Alburquerque over the weekend for a series against New Mexico.