Okert Strikes Out Nine as Sooners Sweep Hawks

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

Feb. 26, 2012



3
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
 Hartford 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 11 3
 Oklahoma 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 3 X 8 2 0
 
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8


 
 Pitching IP H R ER BB SO
 W-Okert (1-0) 8.0 9 3 3 2 9
 L-Newcomb (0-1) 5.2 1 5 1 7 1
 S-NONE - - - - - -
 
 Leaders AB R H RBI BB HR
 OU - Lockwood 3 1 1 1 2 1
 UH- Sheetz 4 1 3 0 0 0
 
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Junior Steven Okert struck out nine batters to lead No. 15 Oklahoma to an 8-3 win on Sunday and a three-game sweep over the visiting Hartford Hawks.

Okert lasted eight innings for Oklahoma, the longest start for a Sooner this season, and struck out nine batters to improve 1-0.

"It was really big for us. I think if you can get a guy out there on Sunday who can go like that, because your bullpen might be thin by Sunday, Okert can be really big for us right there," said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway, who recorded the 600th win of his collegiate career on Sunday.

"I went back and started thinking about some of the early coaches I had on staff at Oral Roberts, you know, and a lot of great players," said Golloway on the milestone. "I think no matter what you do in life, if you don't surround yourself with really good people, you're not going to be successful. Six hundred is a successful mark, but I've been blessed with really good coaches and really good players."

The Sooners improved to 4-2 and have won three straight games. Hartford fell to 0-3 on the season.

The win didn't come easy early on as the Sooners trailed 3-1 before freshman Hunter Lockwood hit his fourth home run of the year in the sixth inning. Later in the same frame, OU capitalized on four walks and a hit batter to take a 5-3 lead.

The offense padded the lead with a trio of runs in the eighth inning and eventually finished the game with two hits. However, the Sooner offense also took advantage of 12 walks issued by the Hartford hurlers and stole a season-high five bases.

"We were aggressive and stole a lot of bases today," added Golloway.

The season-high five stolen bases and a low pitch count kept Okert in the game despite giving up three runs in the first five innings. After OU took the lead in the sixth, Okert was able to settle in for the win with four more strikeouts in the final three frames.

"I just kept trusting the team and knew they'd back me up at the plate and they came through and did what they were supposed to do," said Okert.

Lockwood finished the series against Hartford with four home runs and is the first Sooner to homer in three straight games since Garrett Buechele did it last season against William and Mary. Evan Mistich had the Sooners other hit on the afternoon and has hit safely in all six games this season.

OU won game one of the series on Friday, 9-6, and clinched the three game set on Saturday with a 10-5 victory.

The Sooners return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 28. to close the four-game home stand against UT Arlington at 3 p.m. The game can be heard live on the Sooner Sports Network KREF 1400 AM.

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