HOUSTON, Texas -- The Sooner baseball team (6-2) rebounded on Saturday against Lamar (4-4) with an 11-4 victory in the Coca-Cola Classic at Reckling Park. The Sooners pounded out 17 hits and plated 11 runs after collecting just five hits in an 8-2 loss on Friday to No. 5 Rice. The Sooners have won four of their last five games.
Newcomer Joseph Hughes made his first career start (in center field) for the Sooners and led the offense with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, including four RBI and a run scored. Hughes is the third Sooner this season to record a four-RBI game (Ryan Mottern and Chuckie Caufield).
“It was nice to see our offense get back into the swing of things tonight,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “Not only was our offense solid, but Steven (Guerra) pitched a great game and our defense was its normal self.”
OU’s starter, Steven Guerra (3-0), put together another impressive outing on the Sooners’ mound, lasting five or more innings for the third consecutive start this season. Guerra set a season high with seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings and limited the Cardinals to five hits. Guerra shut down Lamar almost two weeks after the Cardinals scored 21 runs on the Sooners at the UTPA Classic on Feb. 5.
After Guerra loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh on two walks and a hit by pitch, Will Savage came in to close the door with two outs, but Lamar made things interesting after the Sooner hurler issued a walk and surrendered a two-run single to Collin Delome. All four Lamar runs were charged to Guerra, but OU responded by adding a single run in both the eighth and ninth innings.
The Sooners wasted no time in building a sizable lead in Saturday’s contest, with a four-run second inning. Hughes started things off with a two-run single with the bases loaded, plating Ryan Rohlinger and Ryan Mottern. The Sooners’ leadoff hitter, Chuckie Caufield, then followed with a single to center field and Aaron Reza finished off the inning with beautifully executed squeeze play that brought home Hughes and produced a base hit.
Reza had another productive at-bat in the fourth inning, bringing home Brandon Moss on a sacrifice fly to right field before OU added two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth frame. Russell Raley had two of the Sooners’ RBI in the fifth and sixth innings, while Rohlinger and Hughes brought in the other two runs.
OU has recorded 10 or more hits in seven of its eight games this year and Saturday night’s 11 runs marked the fourth time this season that the offense has scored double-digit runs. Additionally, the Sooners were one hit shy of tying the season high set against Texas-Pan American on Feb. 4.
Lamar’s William Delage (1-1) lasted 5 2/3 innings after allowing nine Sooner runs on 12 hits. Offensively, Matt Lambeth was the most productive Cardinal. Lambeth finished with two hits while Delome led the team with two RBI.
The Sooners conclude action in the Coca-Cola Classic on Sunday against No. 19 Long Beach State (5-3) at noon The game can be heard live on KOKC (1520 AM) with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play.
Long Beach State, ranked as high as No. 11 in the NCBWA poll this week, is undefeated at the Coca-Cola Classic after topping Lamar 11-6 on Friday and Rice 4-1 earlier on Saturday. OU’s P.J. Sandoval (1-1, 5.62 ERA) is expected to throw opposite the Dirtbags’ Vance Worley (0-1, 7.71 ERA).