The Sooners topped Texas 2-1 in a tight Sunday battle that prevented a Longhorns series sweep. Ben Hollas played the hero, battling through an epic 12-pitch at bat in the seventh before dropping a double just inside the left field line to drive home Kyle Mendenhall and the winning Sooners run.
OU starter Nathan Wiles overcame a rocky start for a solid outing, while Longhorns pitcher Kyle Johnston went six strong innings and gave up just one run.
The Longhorns drew first blood in the contest, loading the bases with no one out in the bottom of the first inning. A sac fly from Saturday’s grand slammer Kacy Clemens plated his brother, Kody, for the first run. But Wiles was able to somehow settle down and get out of the inning without further damage, inducing a groundout from Bret Boswell and striking out Michael Cantu to end the threat.
The Sooners almost knotted the game in the second. Renae Martinez earned a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second, then took third on a wild pitch. But when Kyle Mendenhall chopped a grounder to third base, Ryan Reynolds threw home and gunned down a sprinting Martinez by a full step.
After his first-inning jitters, Wiles settled down and retired the ‘Horns in order in the second and third. But the Sooners couldn’t break through, despite occasionally threatening. Ben Hollas got on to start the third inning, striking out but reaching first on a wild pitch, but he was erased quickly on a double-play ball. In the fifth, Brylie Ware reached second with a single and a Kyle Mendenhall sac bunt, but Brandon Zaragoza and Quin Wahlberg couldn’t make anything happen and recorded the inning’s final two outs.
Defensively, though, Zaragoza and the Sooners were excellent. Zaragoza high-pointed a Kody Clemens line drive that was destined for the left-center gap in the third, and Jack Flansburg turned an amazing double play with a diving stop in the fourth. Kacy Clemens was ejected that inning for mouthing off after a called strike three, thus robbing the ‘Horns of their hard-hitting Saturday hero.
Wiles got pulled after 4.2 innings, ceding the mound to Braidyn Fink who came in for a second straight day of relief work. His final line was a very solid three hits, one run, two walks and four strikeouts.
The Sooners finally broke through in the top of the sixth inning. Flansburg started the frame with a groundout to first, but Steele Walker and Austin O’Brien were able to work back-to-back walks off Johnston. Renae Martinez then singled to right field, bringing home Walker for OU’s first run of the day.
The Sooners had a chance to tack on more with O’Brien at third, but the inning ended with a 4-6-3 double play off Brylie Ware’s bat to keep the game tied at 1.
Chase Shugart relieved Johnston in the seventh and promptly gave the Sooners the lead. Kyle Mendenhall got beaned to start the frame, and Zaragoza sacrificed him to second. That’s when Ben Hollas’s fateful 12 pitch at-bat ended in a go-ahead RBI double.
Connor Berry was excellent in relief for OU, going 3.1 scoreless innings.
The win moves Oklahoma to 27-8 overall and 5-4 in the Big 12. The Sooners next head to Tulsa for a Tuesday contest against Oral Roberts. First pitch is at 6:30.
Check out our postgame interview with Coach Hughes:
We're LIVE with Pete Hughes after OU's 2-1 win over Texas!Posted by Crimson And Cream Machine on Sunday, April 9, 2017