One day after winning a 20-10 shootout against Mississippi State, the pitching of Nathan Wiles led the Oklahoma Sooners to a shutout victory over the Samford Bulldogs in the Tallahassee Regional. After the 4-0 win, Oklahoma is now but one W away from reaching Super Regional play for the first time since 2013.
Wiles has had some big-time performances as a sophomore, highlighted by an April win against Texas that earned him Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors. However, this was easily the best outing of his young career, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for his team. The Overland Park, Kan., product went 8.2 innings and struck out a career-high 10 strikeouts against a Samford lineup that did some damage against Florida State the previous night.
What a night for Nathan Wiles. Dude brought the game and the attitude. Reallllly wish he could've gone the distance, but I don't think any of us can complain.— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) June 3, 2018
Fun fact: Nathan Wiles is the father of every Samford batter— C&C Machine (@CCMachine) June 3, 2018
At the plate, the Sooners had big performances from Kyle Mendenhall (1-3, HR, 3 RBI) and Thomas Hughes (3-4, RBI). Hughes, the son of former OU head coach Pete Hughes, now has 10 hits in his last 19 at-bats and has been a real key to OU’s success in the absence of Steele Walker and Kyler Murray, who were out of the lineup once again on Saturday.
After stranding five runners in the first two innings, Oklahoma finally broke it open in the bottom of the third with Kyle Mendenhall’s three-run jack, his fourth homer of the season.
Oklahoma threatened once again in the fifth when Justin Mitchell draw a walk and moved into scoring position on a Brady Lindsly sac-bunt. OU then notched another run on the board when Thomas Hughes battled and chopped a two-out single up the middle to score Justin Mitchell from second. The hit was Hughes’ 10th in his previous 18 at-bats.
Wiles encountered his only real trouble of the night with runners at the corners and one out in the seventh, but a big strikeout and a popup ended the threat.
Wiles nearly went the distance, but a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the ninth forced Skip Johnson’s hand. After Wiles’ exit, Austin Hansen entered the game and got the swinging K to end it.
OU will face the winner of Mississippi State and Samford at 5 p.m. CT, and that team will have to beat the Sooners twice in order to knock them out and advance in the NCAA Tournament.