After a 1-3 record on the road last week the Oklahoma Sooners are set up for a good week at home this week. The 10-17 Kansas Jayhawks come to town for a three-game series that begins on Thursday but the University of Central Arkansas Bears were the pressing matter on Tuesday night.
A shaky start in the first by Adam Choplick put Oklahoma in a jam early. Aided by two walks and a hit-by-pitch, three of Central Arkansas first four batters reached safely to load the bases with just one out. Choplick was able to work out of it, thanks in part to a reversed call at home plate by a confused umpire, and get the Sooners to the second inning without allowing any runs.
The confusing came on a one-out fielder's choice by Logan Preston. UCA's leadoff man, Tyler Langley, initially scored on the play but after a protest from Pete Hughes he was deemed out by a force play. Where the Bears loaded the bases in the first, Oklahoma was able to just put Craig Aikin on and the two teams went to the second inning scoreless.
Central Arkansas threatened again in the second by moving Brad Dillenberger to third base but two strikeouts in the inning by Choplick removed the threat.
Oklahoma finally got on the board in the bottom of the third when Kolby Carpenter drilled his sixth home run of the season over the left field wall. Taylor Alspaugh followed it with a double down the left field line and then came home off an error from Bears first baseman Nate Ferrell. Aikin reached second on the error and then came home on an RBI single from Anthony Hermelyn.
Leading 3-0 heading to the top of the third, Choplick retired the first two batters he faced before Dillenberger singled to center. It was all for nothing though as Choplick fanned his sixth batter of the game to end the Bears' half of the fourth. The Sooners struck for three more runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks in part to a 2-RBI triple by Carpenter.
A solo shot from Chris Shaw in the bottom of the 8th left the park over the left-center fence and added a run to Oklahoma's lead and get us to the final score of 7-0.
Adam Choplick settled down after a rough start and pitched a gem of a game. He held Central Arkansas scoreless over his six innings of work, allowing just three hits, and matched his career-high of ten strikeouts. "I made an adjustment in the second inning and then after that it felt a lot better," Choplick said of his start. "I went out on the mound and settled him down a little bit." Coach Hughes said. "I said, hey, just slow everything down a little bit." The pep talk and adjustment worked as Choplick would go on to retire
Carpenter had a team-high three RBI on his two hits and nine Oklahoma batters combined for 14 hits.