|No. 28 Oklahoma||0||0||0||1||3||0||1||0||0||5||6||2|
NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma baseball team fell to Seton Hall, 7-5, in the 2014 season opener in front of 1,207 fans at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday afternoon. The loss was the first game under new head coach Pete Hughes.
Tied at 4-4 in the top of the sixth inning and the wind blowing to right field, SHU catcher Dillon Hamlin lifted a solo home run to right, giving the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish. Seton Hall added two more runs in the seventh off the OU bullpen.
“It’s disappointing," said Hughes. "Our guys are disappointed. We really cultivated a relaxed atmosphere. Playing loose, and playing fast and having fun. I don’t think we did that today. It’ll be a good learning experience because our guys we’ll see that playing loose and a hundred miles an hour and play to win, they’re not as good as they’re capable of playing. We’ll try to learn from out approach.”
Sophomore left-hander Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) made his first career start on the bump for the Sooners and was in trouble early in the first. After a single, passed ball, walk and double steal, Evans escaped the jam on a fly out to left field and the inning ended as sophomore Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) threw out the runner from third, at home, to end the frame.
In the second, the Pirates overcame a groundball double play to score the first run of the game and tacked on a second when second baseman Mike Caputo lined a single down the left field line to score third baseman Kyle Grimm.
Oklahoma made its first offensive threat of the game when redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) hit a high triple off the wall in right field, but was nailed at the plate on a groundball to third with the infield drawn in.
SHU expanded its lead in the fourth with unearned runs scored on an RBI triple by Caputo and RBI single by center fielder Derek Jenkins. OU would answer by pushing across its first run of the season in the bottom half. Freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) led off with a walk, advanced on a groundout and again on a wild pitch. He went the final 90 feet on a sacrifice fly to right by senior second baseman Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.).
The Sooners rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game, 4-4. Sophomore designated hitter Kolbey Carpenter (Waco, Texas) and junior shortstop Joshua Ake (Readington, N.J.) got the rally started with back-to-back one-out singles. With runners at the corners, Carpenter scored on a fielding error by Grimm. Ake and sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas) both crossed home plate on a fielding error by Caputo to tie the game.
Following Hamlin’s homer in the sixth, Evans (0-1) soon exited after throwing 5.1 innings. He allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits, one walk and three hit batsmen, while striking out four.
The Pirates added a pair of runs in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Sal Annunziata and a RBI single by Grimm. Oklahoma’s final run of the day would come in the bottom half when Haley scored on an error by Jenkins.
Righty Josh Prevost (1-0) started and got the win for Seton Hall in 6.0 innings of work. He surrendered four runs, only one earned, on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. Right-handed closer Connor Krauss locked down the save in the ninth.
For the game, the Pirates outhit the Sooners, 14-6, despite committing four errors to OU’s two.
Caputo and Hamlin each recorded four hits games. For Oklahoma, Aikin went 2-for-5 at the dish.
Game two of the series is set for a 2:00 pm first pitch on Saturday afternoon.
· LHP Jacob Evans is first sooner to make his first career start on opening day since Zach Neal in 2010.
· Evans is the third straight lefty to start on opening day following Dillon Overton in 2012 and 2013.
· This marks the first time in L. Dale Mitchell history that the Sooners have lost the home opener. The Sooners are now 48-5 in home openers, since 1962, and 32-1 at L. Dale Mitchell.
· Seton Hall’s Mike Caputo and Dillon Hamlin had four hits in tonight’s game. The last time this happened was June 8, 2013 when Jacoby Jones had four for LSU.
· Seton Hall now holds the lead in the series, 1-0.
· This was the highest opening day attendance since 2011, which saw 1,522 fans for the opener against William and Mary.
· Three Sooners made their collegiate debut in the lineup. Keach Ballard came off the bench for his first collegiate start.