SURPRISE, Ariz. – In its first of four games at the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers spring training facility, the University of Oklahoma baseball team was victorious 9-0 over Manhattan College on Thursday evening. The Sooners snapped a brief two-game slide to improve to 6-3 on the season, while the Jaspers fell to 1-4.
Heading to the second inning, sophomore right-hander Corey Copping (Temple City, Calif.) found himself with a 4-0 lead as Oklahoma took advantage of three Manhattan errors to push across four runs on just one hit; an RBI single by senior second baseman Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.).
“We’re always trying to play clean baseball. I thought we did that today,” said head coach Pete Hughes. The Sooners did not commit an error for only the second time this season. “I thought Copping set the tone and threw a ton of strikes. We did a real good job in situational hitting and got our share of two-out hits.”
Copping (2-0) tossed six-shutout innings in his second start of the season. He surrendered five hits, one walk and struck out four. The loss went to righty Matt Simonetti (0-2), who gave up seven runs, four earned, on five hits and four walks.
“It seemed like [Copping] was 0-2, 1-2 all day long,” stated Hughes of the starter’s effort. “When you can do that, it’s such an advantage on the mound. I thought he threw three pitches for strikes and his fastball is deceptively quick. That’s what he beat them with.”
The Sooners poured in three more runs in the third inning beginning with a single up the middle by sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas). Oklahoma got another run in on a bases loaded groundball double play and scored the third on a base knock to right-center by junior shortstop Joshua Ake (Readington, N.J.).
In the fourth inning, the Sooners went to work against the Jasper bullpen. Sophomore left fielder Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) got things started with a base hit, followed by his team-leading third stolen base of the season. He then scored on a double down the left field line by freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas). Neuse came home for the ninth run of the game on a single through the left side by junior designated hitter Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas).
James, Lorenzana and Neuse all recorded two-hit games. Through nine games, James leads the team with five multi-hit games on the season as he finished the day 2-for-4 with one RBI.
The Oklahoma bullpen combined to throw three-scoreless innings, while striking out six and allowing just two base runners on one hit and one walk.
The Sooners return to action tomorrow against Santa Clara at 5:00 pm.
· Enos Semore, the winningest coach in program history, was in attendance for the game.
· The game was the first meeting between Oklahoma and Manhattan.
· Both Sooner shutouts this season have come in Copping starts.
· The Sooners have scored two or more runs in an inning 21 times and three or more 13 times.
· Oklahoma is 4-3 all-time in the ASU Tournament having been to Surprise in 2004 and 2005.
· OU relievers have tossed 28 shutout innings of the 35 complete innings pitched.