NORMAN – The No. 13 University of Oklahoma baseball team completed its season-opening homestand with a 17-2 record following a 4-1 win over Buffalo at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday evening. The Sooners’ scoreless-inning streak against the Bulls ended at 25 in the top of the seventh and sophomore center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) saw his hit-streak end at 21 games.
“I tell the guys, you don’t look at the scoreboard, don’t look at the crowd whether it’s 10,000 or 150 and you don’t talk about the elements, you talk about beating someone,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “That’s kind of the mentality we have and I thought we did a decent job.”
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.) was terrific for 6.2 innings in the start for OU. In the longest start of his career, he struck out a career-high six. Madden (2-0) gave up one run on three hits and two walks and retired 19 in a row between the end of the first and beginning of the seventh.
The Sooners put two runs on the board in the second and sixth inning. Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) reached on hit-by-pitch to lead off and senior third baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) followed with a base hit to set the table. Sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) then broke the scoreless-tie with a base hit rocketed up the middle. Oklahoma added a second run later in the inning on a RBI-single to left by redshirt-sophomore left fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.).
In the sixth, OU loaded the bases with two outs on a Ware single, an error and a hit-by-pitch. Buffalo (4-8) went to its bullpen and sophomore right fielder Blake Brewster (Moore, Okla.) greeted the new pitcher with a two-run single back up the box to make it a 4-0 game.
The Bulls got a run back in the top of the seventh and threatened in the eighth despite not making contact in the inning. Graduate right-handed pitcher Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, N.Y.) struck out two and walked two before being lifted for senior right-hander JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas). Olson hit the first batter he faced before getting a called strike three to leave the bases loaded. Olson stayed on to pitch the ninth and recorded his fourth save of the season.
Ware finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk as Oklahoma outhit Buffalo, 6-3. Senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) added a 2-for-3 day with a run scored.
The Sooners hit the road for the first time this season for a game at Georgia Tech on Tuesday, March 14. It will be the first of five games played in Georgia next week and the first of nine road games in a row.