The Oklahoma Sooners have arguably been the hottest team in college baseball for about two months at this point, and Skip Johnson’s club was able to keep it going with a 13-8 win over the Texas A&M Aggies to start the College World Series.
As hot as Texas A&M bats are capable of becoming, as quick start was crucial for OU. Fortunately, the Sooners delivered (and then some) in that regard. After scoring one on an RBI groundout in the first, Johnson’s team exploded with a seven-run, two-out rally in the top of the 2nd. The three-run bomb from Jimmy Crooks served as the punctuation.
Not to be deterred, Texas A&M responded with a three-run shot of their own in the bottom half, but Sooner ace Jake Bennett was able to stem the tide through the sixth. In the meantime, Jackson Nicklaus’ fourth-inning grand slam appeared to put it out of reach.
However, the Aggies have been making big comebacks all year, and it was in danger of happening again down the stretch. Usual Saturday starter David Sandlin relieved Bennett in the seventh, but his appearance was short-lived, going 0.1 and ended up on the hook for four earned runs. Trevin Michael, as he has done all year, silenced the rally, as he pitched the final 2.2 brought the Sooners in for a smooth landing.
In the other matchup of Day 1, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish handled the Texas Longhorns by a score of 7-3. OU and Notre Dame — undoubtedly the two hottest teams in college baseball — will meet at 6 p.m. Sunday for a chance to clinch a spot in the semifinal. With Sandlin making an appearance today, one would assume Cade Horton will be on the mound for the Sooners. As well as the redshirt freshman out of Norman has played in big situations, it’s safe to say that OU is in good hands.