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Oklahoma Baseball: Sooners throttle Rice, force rubber match

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After getting itself in a hole, Oklahoma came away with a 17-8 win in Houston.

Gallery Photo: Oklahoma Sooners Baseball | CCM’s Game Day Gallery

The Oklahoma Sooners (12-3) got in ahole early, but the bats came alive in the late innings en route to a comfortable 17-8 victory over the Rice Owls.

Nathan Wiles got the start on thill for the Sooners and went 3.1 innings, allowing five earned runs and seven hits while striking out three. After 0.2 of work from Ledgend Smith, Wyatt Olds went 2.2 and allowed three runs on four hits. That damage, however, occurred early in his appearance, and Olds ended up logging some valuable time to keep OU in the game.

The biggest moment from the staff came when Aaron Brooks relieved Olds in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and runners at the corners. With cleanup hitter Justin Collins at the dish, Brooks got a swinging K to keep the game tied and set OU up for a late onslaught. He also ended up earning the win.

From there, Zach Matthews and Ryan Madden pitched shutout inning to seal the deal.

At the plate, Brylie Ware led the way with his 4-6 effort, recording a solo shot and five RBIs on the day. Tyler Hardman (2-4), Cade Cavalli (2-4, 2 RBI, HR), Conor McKenna (2-4, 2 RBI), and Diego Muniz (2-3, RBI) and Brendan Zaragoza (1-5, 3 RBI, 2B) also stood out at the plate for the Sooners, who ended up with 14 hits.

Oklahoma got things going early when a Zaragoza walk and a pair of singles from Ware and Hardman loaded the bases in the top of the first. Cavalli, who struggled on the mound last evening, got it done at the plate with a sac fly to make it 1-0. The Sooners then added some cushion in the top of the second when Zaragoza knocked one to the gap in left-center for a 2 RBI double, making it 3-0.

Rice then charged back in the third, starting with a solo shot to left for Trei Cruz. After a Bradley Gneiting single, Justin Collins then hit a towering shot to left to tie it up. In the fourth, Rice took a 5-3 lead with a two-run, two-hit inning.

Oklahoma was able to get one back in the top of the fifth when Cavalli drilled one over the berm in left, making it 5-4. It was his first homer of the season and seventh of his career. However, Rice fired back in the bottom half with Cade Edwards’ bases-loaded triple to make it 8-4 in favor of the Owls.

The Sooners loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth before Zaragoza came to the plate with an opportunity to make things interesting. After rolling one to the third baseman, an E5 on the throw home allowed McKenna and Muniz to score. On the following at-bat, Ware plated Brady Harlan and Zaragoza to tie things up at 8.

In the top of the eighth, Ware opened things up with a bang as he drilled a solo shot to the berm in left-center. Hardman and Cavalli then hit a pair of singles before Brady Lindsly reached on an E1. With the bases loaded, McKenna drew a walk to make it 10-8, and Muniz then hit a sac fly to left to make it 11-8. With two outs, Zaragoza drew a bases-loaded walk of his own to extend the lead once again before a wild pitch allowed McKenna to score, making it 13-8. Ware then made it 15-8 with a two-RBI single in his second at-bat of the inning, causing a mass exodus at Reckling Park. After two more bases-loaded walks, the Sooners held a 17-8 lead.

All in all, the Sooners recorded none runs on four hits and seven walks as OU sent 15 batters to the plate.

Oklahoma and Rice will meet again for a rubber match on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.