NORMAN – The No. 15 University of Oklahoma baseball team upset No. 2 Texas Tech, 6-2, in front of 2,502 in attendance at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday night. The Sooners snapped the Red Raiders 10-game win-streak as both team’s move on with identical 24-5 overall and 3-1 Big 12 records.
Sophomore right-hander Dylan Grove (Moore, Okla.) put a rocky first inning behind him and struck out a career-high 11 batters in six innings of one-run ball. Grove (1-1) walked the first two batters of the game and allowed a run on a one-out single by Tech first baseman Hunter Hargrove before striking out the next two.
“Well he has been there before, so he learned from experience,” head coach Pete Hughes said of Grove’s start. “Last weekend he did the same thing, but he extended it even more. This weekend, it was good to see him get back on track a lot quicker than he did last time and that is what you want to see is kids learning from their mistakes and make adjustments, get settled in, keep your composure, take a step back and you end up having a really good outing and that is what Dylan did for us in game one.”
Grove struck out five in a row beginning in the first and going through striking out the side in the second; the beginning of a stretch of 10 in a row retired. For the game, he walked six and gave up just two hits.
Trailing 1-0, sophomore first baseman Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) drew a leadoff-walk in the bottom of the second. Sophomore left fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) followed with a single to shallow center to set the table. Senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) laid down a sacrifice-bunt to move the two into scoring position. Ware was able to score on a fielder’s choice hit to short by junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.). The throw went to third, where Walker slid in under the tag.
Sophomore right fielder Blake Brewster (Moore, Okla.) then came to the plate and ripped a ball to first that was knocked down and Hargrove tagged the bag to get Brewster. Mendenhall, the OU runner at first, got into a rundown allowing Walker to score from third with the go-ahead run.
Righty John Henry Gonzalez (2-2) surrendered three runs on four hits and four walks in four innings of work. Lefty Jacob Patterson tossed three innings of scoreless-relief with four strikeouts.
Graduate right-hander Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, N.Y.) entered out of the pen for the Sooners in the top of the seventh. He struck out five, including the final out of the night. Aiello allowed one run on two hits.
Oklahoma added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth as a walk, a hit-by-pitch and an intentional-walk loaded the bases with one down. Martinez ripped a bases-clearing double to left-center that pushed the Sooner lead to 6-1.
“You have a senior, and I talk about seniors all the time because those situations get really quiet for those guys, with freshman it speeds up on them,” Hughes said of Martinez’ at-bat. “I knew the approach was mature and had a chance to be effective. When you send him in that situation, he is looking for a fastball upstairs and that is what he told me before he went up and then he executed. Awesome kid, awesome captain, showed great leadership.”
Walker finished the night with the only multi-hit game; going 2-for-3.
The Sooners and Red Raiders play game two at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Junior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) will toe the rubber for Oklahoma.