NORMAN – Sophomore right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) was dominant in a 6-2 win for the University of Oklahoma baseball team over No. 17 Long Beach State in front of a crowd of 1,373 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday evening. He picked up the win in seven-shutout innings of one-hit ball and matched his career-high in strikeouts with 10.
“That kid hasn’t been put on the ropes many times in his career,” began head coach Pete Hughes on Irvin’s start. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the country. He’s a Team USA guy. When you can come out the first seven innings with one hit, 10 strikeouts and no walks it affords you a lot of opportunities. It gets the runs going and gets some momentum in your dugout.”
Irvin, who finished last season as the Sooners’ Friday night pitcher, started the day by striking out the side in the top of the first inning. From there, Oklahoma would soon on the board first in the bottom of the second. Senior third baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) tripled to left and scored on an errant throw sent past him on a failed pick-off attempt. Flansburg finished the game 3-for-4 with a pair of runs as he recorded his second three-hit day as a Sooner.
In the bottom of the fourth, sophomore left fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) led off with a double and scored immediately on a RBI-single to center by senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.). Oklahoma added two more runs in the inning on a bases-loaded walk and RBI-groundout.
The Sooners struck for two more against Long Beach right-hander Darren McCaughan (0-1) one solo home runs in the sixth. Senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) turned on an inside pitch and smashed it over the wall in left. Sophomore right fielder Blake Brewster (Moore, Okla.) followed with a homer of his own to deep right-center.
“There was a pretty good disciplined approach by our offense one through nine and when we had opportunities to score we put the ball in play and good things happened,” continued Hughes. “I’m proud of our guys because we got a good start, we got on the board early and we kept a good momentum, which is a sign of a team that has played some college games before; a veteran team.”
After Irvin exited the game, retiring the last 18 batters he faced, the Dirtbags made things interesting in the top of the eighth. Senior right-hander JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas) came on as the second OU reliever in the inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. On just one pitch, he induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Long Beach would then get to Olson for a pair of runs on three hits in the ninth to put the game at its final score.
McCaughan took the loss and went six innings for the Dirtbags. He surrendered six runs on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Game two between Oklahoma and Long Beach is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch tomorrow afternoon. Sophomore right-hander Dylan Grove (Moore, Okla.) gets the ball for the Sooners.