NORMAN – The No. 13 University of Oklahoma baseball team shut out Buffalo in back-to-back ends of a doubleheader at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday by scores of 1-0 and 11-0. The Sooners improved to 16-2 overall, while the Bulls fell to 4-8.
After the two sides combined for 26 runs in the series opener on Thursday night, Oklahoma scored the only run of the first game in the bottom of the sixth. Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.) came through with his third hit of the day for a two-out RBI that pushed across the run.
Buffalo threatened to go in front in the top of the sixth with a runner on first and two down. Shortstop Ben Haefner singled to right-center, where OU senior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas) cut the ball off in the gap. Hollas fired to the cutoff man, junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.), who fired home to senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) to apply the tag and prevent the Bulls from scoring.
“Awesome to pull out a win,” began head coach Pete Hughes. “I keep telling our guys that I want to see us play from behind. I just do not know how we are going to be in that situation during tight games. We have not done that enough and I thought we did very well with it last night. There were situations in that last inning where the lead off guy gets off, JB [Olson] makes a pitch and you have to set your defense and a lot of strategy is involved but at least we have our guys thinking in those terms because we are going to see a lot of that soon.”
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) tossed a career-high seven-scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts. Hansen (3-0) needed just 92 pitches to get through the seventh. Senior right-hander JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas) nailed down a two-inning save for his third of the season. He struck out four, including the final two outs of the game with the potential tying run at third.
In game two, the Sooners grabbed a quick lead with three runs on three hits in the first inning. Sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) delivered the big blow of the inning; a two-run double to left field. Ware, who went hitless in the opener, finished the nightcap 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI and three runs.
“Pretty advanced approach,” Hughes said of Ware at the plate. “Mike [Anderson] gives him a great approach too. When you get good instruction, good preparation and a super-talented kid and a team-first kid he is going to have success.”
Oklahoma put crooked numbers on the board four times in game two. The Sooners added two in the third, four in the fourth and two in the sixth to push the game to its final score of 11-0 with OU claiming a run-rule victory in the seventh.
Junior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.), the first Sooner starting pitcher not in the sophomore class this season, pitched six-scoreless innings. He struck out a season-high nine and allowed just four hits without a walk on 93 pitches.
Sophomore outfielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) extended his hit-streak to 21 games with a 1-for-4 effort in game one and 1-for-5 night in game two.
The Sooners and Bulls wrap the series on Saturday at 4 p.m. It will also be the team’s annual “Bark in the Park” day. Fans are permitted to bring their dog into the stadium with proof of vaccinations.