It wasn’t easy or pretty, but Oklahoma was able to overcome deficits on Friday and Saturday en route to a weekend sweep of the Kennesaw State Owls in Georgia, wrapping up its non-conference schedule.
The series began on Friday with strikeout machine Jake Irvin on the hill for OU. Irvin battled through 6 innings on 105 pitches, striking out just six but allowing only one earned run and two total. Down 2-0 after 3 innings, the Sooners scored all five of their runs in the 5th frame behind home runs from Ben Hollas and Renae Martinez.
In what has become a bit of a concerning theme, the OU bullpen struggled to nail down the victory in the late innings. Austin Kerns left two runners in scoring position with nobody out in the 8th, but Vincenzo Aiello was able to get out of the jam with two Ks and a popout.
But then Aiello ran into his own trouble in the 9th, loading the bases with two down before Braidyn Fink came on to record the final strikeout. The game ended 5-2.
The Sooners found themselves in an even more dire 6-0 hole to start the Saturday contest before storming back for a resounding 17-9 win. Down 7-3 after 5 innings, a KSU error kept the OU 6th alive long enough for Steele Walker to blast a two-out grand slam to take the lead, 9-7.
Blake Brewster hit two homers and Martinez added another one of his own, but starter Austin Hansen, normally solid, labored through just 1.1 innings before being yanked.
On Sunday the Sooners finally secured a victory without all the drama, winning 14-4 and never trailing. Devon Perez gave up 3 runs in 6.1 innings in his second start of the year, and Domenic DeRenzo picked up his second homer of the season. Hollas added three more hits to bring his weekend total to six.
Oklahoma, now 21-3 on the season, returns to action on Tuesday in Stillwater for a (technically) non-conference game against the Cowboys. It’s about to get fun, folks.