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Seventh Inning Rally Dooms Sooners In Desert Opener

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Rich DeCray SB Nation

The day before the Big 12/Pac 12 Challenge was to get underway the Oklahoma Sooners scheduled a game against the 17th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. I mean, why not? Get your guys out there and let them get as much experience against top notch competition as they possibly can. It should only make them better and more seasoned as conference play approaches...even if they do take a few lumps along the way.

A three-run blast by Sheldon Neuse topped Oklahoma's offensive night as the Sooners broke open the scoring in the third and held on to a lead until the bottom of the seventh. That's when Arizona State rallied to plate five runs and put the game out of reach for the Sooners who were silenced on offense through the final three frames of the game.

A final score of 7-4 may not indicate just how close of a game this was but if for sure highlights the fact that atop Pete Hughes' priority list has got to be development of pitching. Coach Hughes is relying heavily on a veteran staff to produce much better than they have to this point of their careers and through the first six games of the season the results have been mediocre at best.

It's way too early to push the panic button on this team but it isn't too early to say that rotation depth is a bit of a challenge at this point. The Sooners must come up with three guys to face the weekends of the Big 12 gauntlet and as of right now the only person who seems up to that challenge is sophomore Jacob Elliott. Not saying that the other two guys aren't there, just saying that this heavy schedule at the front of the season is doing just what Hughes needs it to, it's showing him exactly what stage of development his pitchers are in.

Notables

* Craig Aikin's streak of seventeen consecutive games with a hit ended on Wednesday night with with 0-for-4 performance from the plate.

* Wednesday marked the sixth different lineup for the Sooners in as many games.

* Sheldon Neuse's home run was the eighth of his career at Oklahoma.

* Arizona State owns an all-time 49-19 record against Oklahoma in baseball.