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NORMAN, Okla. – Eighteen hits from the Sooner offense led the way for a 15-6 win for the University of Oklahoma baseball team over Seton Hall on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners improved to 2-1 on the young season in front of a crowd of 1,245. The Pirates dropped to 1-2 with the loss.
Oklahoma poured in four runs in the first inning as the table was set by back-to-back singles from sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas) and sophomore left fielder Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas). Freshman DH Niko Buentello (Lewisville, Texas) drove in the game’s first run with a double to right-center. Sophomore first baseman Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) knocked in Haley with a sacrifice fly and was followed by RBI singles from senior second baseman Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.) and junior catcher Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas).
“We got some offense, but the pace of the game [was slow],” assessed head coach Pete Hughes. “We have to get mentally tougher there and keep our focus. Any time you start a game with a four spot in the first inning, that kind of takes the pressure off everyone and you feel relaxed in the box.”
James finished the day 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Haley went 2-for-4 with two runs and hit a three-run home run the opposite way to left field in the third inning. Lorenzana also had a big day at the plate going 3-for-5, while crossing the plate three times.
The Sooners continued to put up crooked numbers with three in the fourth, two in the fifth, four in the sixth and two more in the eighth and final inning. The game was cut short after the eighth due to a 4:15 travel curfew due to Seton Hall’s flight back to New Jersey.
Freshman righty Jake Elliott (Coppell, Texas) earned the win in his first career start by going five innings. He allowed just two hits, but walked four en route to allowing three runs, two earned, and striking out three. For the Pirates, right-hander Luke Cahill lasted just 3.1 innings in the loss as he was credited with six runs on seven hits and two walks.
“I thought [Elliott] was really good with composure,” stated Hughes. “The first thing I look at is composure in approach. That kid was locked down and ready to go. Just another start for him; 60-feet-six inches. I thought he threw a lot of strikes, I thought he handled adversity well.”
To go with James’ four-hit day, the bottom of the OU order combined to hit 8-for-10 as redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and sophomore third baseman Kolbey Carpenter (Waco, Texas) each went 2-for-3. Alspaugh drove in three runs, including two on a base hit to left-center in the seventh, and scored once, while Carpenter knocked in a pair.
Seton Hall collected eight hits as a whole; led by third baseman Kyle Grimm, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Shortstop D.J. Ruhlman added a 2-for-4, one-run, one-RBI day.
The Pirates committed four errors to the Sooners two. Lorenzana made a tremendous defensive play to end the top of the seventh as he went back into right field and stretched to make the catch over his left shoulder.
Oklahoma remains at home for a pair of mid-week games as it hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday and Wednesday. First pitch for both games is set for 3:00 pm.
· With today’s win, the Sooners won the series against Seton Hall and lead 2-1 all time.
· Drew Krittenbrink has pitched 20 career innings without giving up a run.
· Niko Buentello had his first collegiate RBI.
· Mac James is the first player to have four hits in a game since Max White vs. Coastal Carolina in the NCAA Blacksburg Regional on May 31, 2013.
· Freshman Cody Thomas saw his first collegiate at-bat and became the first OU baseball and football player since Brandon Jones in 2004.
· Hunter Haley recorded the second three-RBI game of his career, while Taylor Alspaugh recorded his first.
· The Sooners have hit three-run home runs in back-to-back games.
· The Sooners scored three or more runs in an inning six times this weekend.
· The last time the Sooners had 15 runs was against Oral Roberts on March 20, 2013
· This is the first time the Sooners have had 15 or more hits since recording 16 at West Virginia on May 5, 2013.
· For the weekend, the total attendance was 3,754.