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Corey Copping Returns To The Mound To Lead Sooners In 9-4 Win

Rich DeCray - SBN

On the eve before the Sooners were set to play their series against Baylor, in late March, Corey Copping suffered an attack of appendicitis. An emergency appendectomy left Oklahoma's junior righty on the shelf and unavailable not only for the series in Waco but also for the foreseeable future.

Last week he returned to the mound to throw two innings of scoreless relief, against Dallas Baptist, in which he fanned three batters. On Tuesday night he took the mound for the first time since the surgery as a starter and was spectacular.

Through the first three innings Copping went through the Alcorn State lineup without giving up a hit and striking out three of the nine batters he faced during that time. From the other dugout the Sooners plated two runs in the bottom of the third off RBI hits from Taylor Alspaugh and Anthony Hermelyn.

The Braves finally broke up Copping's bid for a no-hitter in the top of the fourth when a grounder from Collin Carroll found its way past a diving Sheldon Neuse and into the gap. He would come around to score off the bat of Jordan Boston to temporarily cut the lead in half. Oklahoma would go back to work in the bottom half of the inning to bring home Hunter Haley and Chris Shaw and extend the lead to 4-1.

Not going away quietly, the Braves plated two more runs in the top of the sixth to pull within 4-3. Copping would be on the hook for all three of those runs as he gave way in the sixth to Keaton Hernandez who got the Sooners out of the inning.

With Copping's win in a bit of jeopardy the Sooners posted three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth coming off three hits, including a triple from Craig Aikin. It was the second three-bagger of the season for Aikin.

Alcorn State got a run back in the top of the 8th when Boston knocked in his second RBI of the evening. As had been the case all night, the Sooners had an answer for the Braves scoring and plated two more runs in the bottom half and extended their lead to the final score of 9-4 to improve Copping's record to 4-0 on the year. "I thought the ball was coming out of his hand really well," Oklahoma head coach Pete Hughes said about Copping's start. "Secondary stuff was good and he threw enough starts for me."

"It's exciting to be back on the mound and feel a part of the team again," Copping added about his performance.

"We gotta win games," Hughes said. "I like the way our team is playing," he added, "to me I just like gaining momentum and there's no better way to do that than to win games."

Taylor Alspaugh ended the evening by going 3-of-5 from the plate with a team high four RBI. Kolbey Carpenter also had a big night from the plate, the day after being named the Big 12 Player of the Week, by going 3-of-5 as well.