OU Opens Series at West Virginia with 2-1 Win
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 19th-ranked Oklahoma baseball team scored two runs in the second inning and held on for a 2-1 win over West Virginia Friday evening at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Sooners (22-5, 4-0 Big 12) held their opponent to one or fewer runs for the 12th time this season with outstanding pitching and outs at important times. Sophomore Cade Cavalli (4-1) struck out eight batters and allowed four hits in 5.0 innings, and junior Jason Ruffcorn earned his seventh save of the season. Alek Manoah (3-2) allowed two runs on three hits in 7.1 innings and took the loss for the Mountaineers (14-11, 0-4 Big 12).
Saturday’s game has been moved up to 1 p.m. CT from the originally-scheduled 3 p.m. CT start due to inclement weather in the forecast.
“It was really a team effort,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “I think that was one of the best outings Cade had all year, and he was in control of himself which was really good. The bullpen came in and did a good job, and we made some great plays on defense. We just have to do a better job of being in control of ourselves with men in scoring position, understanding what we’re doing there. That’s a learning lesson we can take even though we won, and hopefully get better at it.”
Oklahoma scored two runs in the second inning when catcher Justin Mitchell drove in first baseman Tyler Hardman with a sacrifice fly and center fielder Brady Harlan singled home second baseman Conor McKenna. McKenna went 2-for-3 with two doubles and Hardman added a double in the eighth inning. OU tallied five hits and six walks, and left runners in scoring position in five innings.
Cavalli held West Virginia hitless until a single in the fourth inning, then kept the Mountaineers off the board by stranding the bases loaded in the fifth with his eighth strikeout of the game. The Sooners pitchers ended each of the fifth through eighth innings with a strikeout, stranding seven baserunners in those frames. The lone West Virginia run was scored on a double play with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Sophomore Ledgend Smith rolled a double play to the only batter he faced with the bases loaded in the sixth. Freshman Wyatt Olds then stranded two runners with a strikeout to preserve the 2-1 lead. Sophomore Zack Matthews tossed 1.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and Ruffcorn pitched a scoreless ninth inning.