NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma baseball team was victorious twice in its home 19 Ways Invitational in front of 1,126 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday. The Sooners improved to 7-1 overall and extended their win-streak to six games with an early afternoon win over Northern Illinois, 10-3, and a nightcap win over Villanova, 12-1.
In game one against Northern Illinois, Oklahoma tallied a season-high 16 hits and scored double digit runs for the third time in four games. The Sooners put crooked numbers up on the board on four occasions, including a quick two runs in the first. Senior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas) led off with a double to right-center and junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) laid down a bunt-single to put runners on the corners. Oklahoma got the first run in on a wild pitch before senior third baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) drove in the second run of the inning.
The Sooners added two more runs in the third on three hits beginning with an infield-single to short by sophomore left fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) to lead off the inning and push his hit-streak to 10 games. Senior designated hitter Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) followed with a single through the left side to put runners on the corners. Walker was driven in by junior first baseman Lorin Archibald (Renton, Wash.); making his first start. Sophomore shortstop Cade Harris (Leona, Texas) drove in the second run on a line drive, sacrifice-fly to right to make it a 4-0 OU lead.
The Huskies were able to trim the lead back to two against Sooner sophomore right-hander Kyle Tyler (Oklahoma City) in the fifth. Shortstop Samuel Vega delivered a two-run, two-out base hit to center with the bases loaded to chase Tyler, who fell one out eligible of the win. In 4.2 innings of work, Tyler struck out a career-high seven and allowed the two runs on four hits and three walks.
Freshman right-hander Nathan Wiles (Overland Park, Kan.) was the first OU reliever out of the bullpen. Wiles (1-0) earned the win in 2.1-scoreless innings pitched. He struck out two and surrendered only one hit.
For Northern Illinois, right-hander Joe Hawks (0-1) lasted just three innings and was charged with four runs against him on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts, three of which came in the first inning despite allowing two runs.
Oklahoma pulled away by scoring in each of the next three innings with two in the fifth, three in the sixth and a solo home run from Mendenhall in the seventh.
Five players posted multi-hit games with O’Brien leading the way in a 3-for-4, three-run effort. Flansburg finished 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI.
The second game started with Oklahoma pushing across a run in each of the first two inning. Redshirt-freshman left fielder led off with a single ripped through the left side and promptly stole second and third, where he scored on a Walker groundout to the right side.
By the end, the Sooners scored a season-high 17 runs; the most since eliminating No. 5 Texas Tech at the 2016 Big 12 Championship. Flansburg extended his season-long hit-streak to lead off the second with an infield-single to short and scored on a double down the right field line by sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.).
An inning later, Oklahoma’s offense would explode for eight runs on seven hits and a Villanova error. Walker doubled to extend his hit-streak to a career-best 11 games with one down to ignite the Sooner bats. Ware then got the scoring going with a bases-loaded single to center. Senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) and Murray each added two-run singles in the inning. Mendenhall would add his second home run of the day in the third as well.
Sophomore right-hander Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) was impressive in his first full start as a Sooner. He made his first career start against Grambling State on Tuesday after 17 relief appearances a year ago. Hansen (1-0), who pitched just two innings earlier in the week, went 6.1 innings of shutout, two-hit ball with a career-high seven strikeouts to just one walk.
Oklahoma wraps up the 19 Ways Invitational Sunday at 12 p.m. against Boston College. Sophomore right-hander Dylan Grove (Moore, Okla.) gets the ball for the Sooners.