NORMAN, Okla. -- A day after cruising to a 21-8 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Sooners topped that performance with a combined no-hitter to shut out the Golden Lions, 20-0, at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Wednesday.
Six different OU pitchers saw time on the mound to strike out 11 batters and the staff only allowed five base runners for the game on four walks and a hit batsman.
Freshman Kevin Duke made his first career start and set the tone for the rest of the day after lasting three innings and striking out three in the process to record the win. He was followed by junior John Brownell (2.0 innings, 2 strikeouts), junior Daniel McCutchen (1.0 innings, 2 strikeouts), sophomore Ryan Mottern (1.0 innings, 2 strikeouts), junior Will Savage (1.0 innings, strikeout) and junior P.J. Sandoval (1.0 innings, strikeout) who all managed to hold the Golden Lions hitless in nine innings.
It was also the first game this season that the OU pitching staff held a team scoreless.
It marked the first game in OU baseball history that a staff combined to throw a no-hitter. The last time an individual Sooner threw a no-hitter occurred when Jim Husling baffled Old Dominion in the 1989 season. Before today, six OU hurlers have thrown a game without allowing a hit.
“All of the guys that pitched today performed extremely well,” said OU head coach Larry Cochell. “They all kept the ball down and that was the plan. We wanted to get some of the guys back in the swing of things, like Daniel McCutchen. He had a very good breaking ball today and it looked better than it has in his last two outings.”
Although the Sooners’ pitching staff stole the show, the OU offense also had a stellar day recording 20 runs on 15 hits. Freshman catcher Jackson Williams led the charge with a 4-for-5 day that included a two-run shot over the left field fence (with the wind blowing hard to right) in the seventh inning. The home run, the first of his career, scored Freddy Rodriguez and Scott Rooker. Williams finished the day with four RBI and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
“This was a game where you need to improve on some things to get better prepared for the bigger games down the road,” commented Williams. “Today I was able to stay back at the plate and drive the ball. In the seventh, I got a fastball inside and I was able to turn on it and drive it out of the park. I felt really good at the plate and it felt like I could hit anything.”
Rodriguez also put together a nice day of hitting, recording three hits in six plate appearances with two RBI. The versatile infielder who played at shortstop and third base, now leads the Sooners in hitting with a .409 average and is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak.
For the second consecutive game, OU put up four runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.
The Sooners recorded nine runs after three innings off of Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s starting pitcher, Octavius Payne. All nine of the starter’s runs were earned and came off of six hits in 2.3 innings.
Terrance Davis came out of relief for the Golden Lions and held the Sooners scoreless for two consecutive innings but four unearned runs crossed the plate in the sixth. It was in the sixth frame that Jeff Scuderi hit an inside the park homer to score Rodriguez and Williams. Of the 41 runs scored by OU in the two-game series, Scuderi led all sluggers with five RBI.
The Sooners once again had success running the bases on Wednesday with a season-high six stolen bases. Tuesday’s total of five swipes against Arkansas-Pine Bluff was the previous high. Williams and Chuckie Caufield were a combined 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts in the series.
OU (10-4) will continue its current six-game home stand on Friday with the first of three games with Northwestern State. The Demons (14-5) posted their 11th win in their last 12 games by defeating Baylor (5-4) on Tuesday. The win marked the team’s second win against a ranked opponent this season after previously defeating No. 18 Mississippi. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at L. Dale Mitchell Park and will be followed by 1 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday.