NORMAN – The No. 18 University of Oklahoma baseball team wrapped up a four-game sweep of Central Connecticut State with an 11-2 win at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners’ win-streak hit 12, while their record improved to 13-1. The Blue Devils dropped to 4-5 with the loss.
“We got a little sloppy out there and missed a couple signs but that’s the fourth game of a four-game series,” recalled OU head coach Pete Hughes. “We have to clean some things up offensively still. I give our guys a hard time with the bunting fundamentals, but it provided us with a lot of offense this weekend. We’ve got to be able to do that, especially when the conditions change. When the winds blowing like that, we have to get our short game going and be able to play two or three different offenses to be good in [the Big 12].”
Sophomore Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) extended his hit-streak to 17 games in a 3-for-3 performance, including an inside-the-park home run to right-center in the third inning that gave Oklahoma its first lead of the day.
Central took an early lead with a single run in the top of the first. Right fielder Franklin Jennings tripled to start the game and scored on a force out. Two innings later, Jennings reached on a leadoff-error and came in on a double play as OU sophomore right-hander Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.) traded an unearned run for two outs.
The third inning began with a double to left by redshirt-sophomore right fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.). He was sacrificed to third and redshirt-freshman left fielder Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas) drew a four-pitch walk. Murray then stole second and the throw from behind the plate skipped into center field; allowing Walbergh to score. Walker then put Oklahoma in front as he lifted a fly ball to the gap, which found the turf; alluding the dive attempt by the CCSU right fielder.
Walbergh finished the game 2-for-3 with a double and his second home run of the year. Senior second baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) also added a 3-for-4 afternoon.
“It’s dedication in the weight room and dedication to his team,” said Hughes of Walbergh, who started just 15 games in his first two seasons. “The kid is consumed with getting better and getting in the weight room and getting better at this sport. That happens in June, July, and August, when nobody’s watching. He got healthy this summer and didn't play baseball and got in the gym. It’s paying off and it’s good for our young guys to see a guy that’s worked hard and been able to transform.”
The Sooners totaled three home runs in the game as senior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas), who came on for Murray in the middle of the game, sent a three-run shot over the wall in right to cap off a five-run seventh inning.
Junior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) was the first Sooner reliever to enter the game. Madden allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in the start. Perez (2-0) then came on for three-scoreless frames with two hits and a walk against him and three strikeouts. Four OU relievers combined to throw six-shutout innings.
Oklahoma continues its 19-game homestand when it welcomes Wichita State (7-3) to Norman on Tuesday, March 7 at 6:30 pm. Tickets to the game can be purchased HERE.