Oklahoma was able to cap off a solid weekend at L. Dale Mitchell Park by defeating No. 17 Long Beach State by a score of 4-2. The win clinched the opening series of the season for the Sooners.
The Sooners received a solid start on the mound from Kyle Tyler, who pitched 5.2 innings while allowing only two earned runs on four hits. Steele Walker, who went 2-4 with a triple and a run scored, led OU at the plate. Austin O’Brien, Renae Martinez and Brandon Zaragoza also provided RBIs for OU.
Tyler began the game by retiring nine consecutive batters. However, Long Beach State got the scoring started in the top of the 4th with a two-run double on a line drive from Luke Rasmussen. However, further damage was avoided with a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out orchestrated by Tyler, Martinez and Jack Flansburg.
OU got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Martinez drove Brady Lindsly home on a single to left field. Martinez reached scoring position, but he and Kyler Murray were stranded to leave the score at 2-1.
Walker led off the bottom of the 6th with a triple to the gap in right-center, and O’Brien drove him home on a sac fly shortly thereafter to tie it up. Pinch hitter Lorin Archibald drove in Flansberg to give OU the lead with a single, and Zaragoza hit another single to drive in a run and make it 4-2.
That was the end of the scoring for both squads, as Oklahoma relievers Braidyn Fink, Connor Berry and JB Olson provided solid performances to seal the deal.
Outfielder Steele Walker on his success at the plate in comparison to last season:
“It goes back to the team vibe and how we get along so well. We have so much energy in the dugout, and it’s genuine. We’re all for each other and we want everyone to do well, and that really helps you at the plate. It helps give you confidence. It’s just contagious. Everyone wants to do well for each other. It’ll produce on the scoreboard. If you give it enough time and be patient with it, it’ll happen for you.”
Head coach Pete Hughes on the game and series:
“It was a positive weekend. We got three really good starts. Kyle Tyler came out and just pounded the zone. You minimize extra base runners and good things happen.”
“I couldn’t be happier with our starting pitching. Great senior leadership today. Our three captains – Renae (Martinez) with a big RBI early, Stony with a huge situational sac fly in a huge situation, and JB coming in to get a six-out save – [those are] your senior captains and your core leadership. That’s all of the corny coach stuff that goes a long way, so it was good to see that today. I love the fact that we played from behind. There was no panic. There was composure and a veteran approach to playing behind at home. It was a good day.”