|W - Evans (3-1)||3.0||1||1||1||0||2|
|L - MaVorhis (3-2)||4.2||10||4||4||0||0|
|S - N/A||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|OU - Haley||5||2||2||4||0||1|
|OU - Hermelyn||5||3||3||2||0||0|
|OU - Lorenzana||5||1||3||2||0||0|
|Player of the Game|
|Hunter Haley // So. // LF
Haley belted his team-leading fifth home run of the season on a fifth-inning grand slam.
NORMAN, Okla. – Sophomore left fielder Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) capped off an eight-run fifth inning as the University of Oklahoma baseball team opened Big 12 play with an 11-4 win over Kansas State in front of 1,414 at L. Dale Mitchell Park, Friday night. The Sooners improved to 17-6 overall and start 1-0 in the conference, while the Wildcats dropped to 13-8 and 0-1; ending a 12-game winning streak.
“There a couple of really important stats from tonight’s game,” reflected head coach Pete Hughes on his first Big 12 victory. “I think we had nine two-out RBIs. I always talk to our guys about toughness. A sign of toughness, a team being tough is two-out RBIs. There’s nothing more demoralizing than a two-out RBI when you’re on the opposing side. They got two in the first inning… the other stat that goes along with it; we didn’t have one strikeout today. When the ball’s in play, only good things can happen. You get cheap hits, you get errors, it puts pressure on the defense. That’s what Coach Anderson preaches. Our guys did an unbelievable job with our two-strike approach. I can’t remember coaching a team, especially in conference play, that went an entire game without a strikeout.”
Oklahoma totaled eight runs on seven hits, six of which came with two outs, in the fifth inning. Haley got the frame started with a lead-off base hit and was followed by two hard, line drive outs. Junior catcher Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas) and sophomore first baseman Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) then singled to get the Sooners’ first run of the inning.
Redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) tied the ball game with a single to right center and junior second baseman Keach Ballard (Durant, Okla.) gave OU a 4-3 lead with a bleeder through the left side. Senior shortstop Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.) drove in the fourth run of the inning on a double to right; the first extra-base hit of the inning.
After a walk, Haley drilled a 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for his fifth home run of the season. It was the first grand slam by a Sooner since Ricky Eisenberg did so against Kansas on May 8, 2011.
The Sooners trailed early as Kansas State struck for two runs in the first and another in the third to take an early 3-1 lead.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) entered the game from the Oklahoma bullpen with two outs and a runner on second in the top of the fifth inning and ended the Wildcat threat on just one pitch. Evans (3-1) earned the 10th win of the season for Sooner relievers. He surrendered one run on one hit with two strikeouts.
“There’s always one or two instances in a game where it better be controlled or it could get spiraling out of control,” said Hughes. “It could put you behind the eight ball. That was [the fifth] inning, it had the feel to it. I saw a different Jacob Evans than what I’ve seen all year. The ball was really jumping out of his hand. The matchups were there for us; they’re heavy left-handed. I thought Jacob matched up. I thought Corey [Copping] did a good job getting him to that point. For a veteran guy who’s been there a bunch in the fray, Jacob Evans to just come in and pound the zone with effective pitches.”
In the start, sophomore righty Corey Copping (Temple City, Calif.) went 4.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out four. For Kansas State, righty Levi MaVorhis (3-2) was tagged for 10 hits; yielding four runs.
Haley finished the night 2-for-5 with two runs scored to go with the four driven in on his grand slam. Three Sooners recorded three-hit games, including Hermelyn, who extended his season-high 10-game hitting streak with a 3-for-5 night with three runs and two RBI. Freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) finished 3-for-5 with a run and is now 15-for-29 in the last seven games. Lorenzana added a 3-for-5 night at the plate to go with two RBI and a run scored.
Third baseman RJ Santigate was 2-for-4 at the dish, while first baseman Shane Conlon finished 2-for-5 with a run.
Game two of the series is set for 1:00 pm on Saturday as redshirt-sophomore left-hander Adam Choplick (Denton, Texas) is scheduled to get the start against fellow lefty Jared Moore.