NORMAN, Okla. --A last-minute decision by head coach Sunny Golloway may have been the call of the day as the No. 19 Oklahoma baseball team (19-6 overall, 1-1 Big 12) took game two of its conference-opening series against No. 22 Baylor (16-7, 3-2) with a 5-2 victory at L. Dale Mitchell Park Saturday afternoon.
Golloway added Ryan Mottern to the starting lineup about 20 minutes before the first pitch and was rewarded handsomely as the sophomore proved to be the star of the game.
“Mottern was a good last-minute change,” Golloway said. “He’s out there diving for balls, he’s hitting home runs and he’s pitching the game.”
The game featured a classic pitching duel between OU’s Steven Guerra and Baylor’s Cory VanAllen as the duo kept the game scoreless through four innings.
“I thought both starters were outstanding,” Golloway continued. “Honestly, and I don’t mean to downplay anybody in the Big 12, but these are probably the two best No. 2 guys.”
Mottern, who started in left field, plated the first runner of the day in the fifth inning and blasted a two-run shot in his next at-bat in the seventh.
Steven Guerra kept the Bears’ bats in check, allowing just one run in eight innings of work on the mound. The senior becomes the first Sooner pitcher to start the season 8-0 since Kevin Olsen started 10-0 in 1998 and first to record eight straight wins since Austin Mix in 2000.
“It was an exciting game for us,” Guerra said. “The defense was making some great plays a lot of diving plays, a lot of good defense.”
“I thought we played extremely well early,” Golloway said. “They had the lead-off guy on several times. I thought Guerra continued to pick...and got out of some quality jams.”
Baylor’s Seth Fortenberry tied the score with a solo home run in the top of the sixth.
Mottern moved from the outfield to the mound in the final inning, closing the game for the Sooners and ending a spectacular individual effort.
Also shining on the offensive end was Kevin Smith, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a single to right field in the eighth inning. The streak is also the highest by a Sooner this season.
The Sooners complete the three-game series Sunday, March 26 at 1 p.m. in Norman. The rubber game will see OU’s P.J. Sandoval (3-1, 4.35 ERA) throw opposite BU’s Tim Matthews (2-2, 3.38 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on KOKC 1520 AM with the pregame show starting at 12:45 p.m.