SURPRISE, Ariz. – The University of Oklahoma baseball team suffered a 6-4 loss to Gonzaga in the finale of the ASU Tournament at the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners dropped to 7-4 overall, while the defending WCC champions improved to 3-8.
Leading 4-3, freshman right-hander Jake Elliott (Coppell, Texas) went back out to the mound for the eighth inning, looking for his second win of the season. Elliott exited after a hit and an error put two men on with only one out. Sophomore right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. (New Braunfels, Texas) came on in relief, but was unable to hold on to the one-run lead. Gonzaga rallied for three runs, only two of which were earned, on three hits and an error, while leaving the bases loaded.
Elliott (1-2) faced the minimum the first time through the order and cruised through his first five innings of work. He hit a bump in the sixth as the Bulldogs came from down one to take a 3-1 lead.
Oklahoma answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas) got things rolling with a single to center and a stolen base. Freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) then walked to put two runners aboard. With one out, the Sooners got back-to-back RBI singles from freshman first baseman Niko Buentello (Lewisville, Texas) and sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) to tie the game, 3-3.
Junior left fielder Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas) was hit by a pitch to load the bases for redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.). Alspaugh placed a base hit to right-center to score the go-ahead run.
Elliott pitched a clean sheet in the seventh inning. For the game, he lasted a season-long 7.1 innings and allowed five runs, only one earned, on five hits. Elliott struck out four and did not allow a walk.
For Gonzaga, righty Andrew Sopko did not factor into the decision as he went six innings and surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and one walk, while striking out three. Lefty reliever Will Abram (1-0) claimed the win in three innings of work as he allowed just three base runners on two hits and a walk.
The Sooners attempted to rally in the bottom of the ninth; putting the potential tying run on base. Alspaugh doubled and advanced to third on a fly out, followed by a walk to junior shortstop Joshua Ake (Readington, N.J.). The Bulldogs got out of the jam with a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Alspaugh finished the game 3-for-4 with a RBI, while Aikin went 2-for-5 with a run and Hermelyn went 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Oklahoma outhit Gonzaga for the game, 10-7. Seven different hitters recorded a hit for the Bulldogs.
The Sooners are back home for five games this week, beginning with a 6:00 pm contest against Abilene Christian on Tuesday, March 4.
· The Sooners have rolled out 11 different starting lineups in 11 games this season.
· Lorenzana has started 75 straight games at second base. He and Aikin, in center field, are the only two Sooners to start all 11 games at the same position.
· For the second straight start, Elliott faced the minimum batters the first time through the lineup.
· Elliott tossed a new season-long 7.1 innings in his third collegiate start.
· Oklahoma reached double figures in hits for the sixth time this season.
· Alspaugh picked up his fifth multi-hit game of the season and first three-hit game.
· The Sooners trail the all-time series with Gonzaga, 3-1.