AUSTIN, Texas – The No. 9 University of Oklahoma baseball team lost its series opener at Texas, 5-3, at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday night. The Sooners dropped to 26-7 overall and 4-3 in the Big 12, while the Longhorns improved to 21-12 and 5-5.
Oklahoma’s inability to get a single out on a pair of potential double play balls in the early innings cost the Sooners in the first and third. Texas had two on with one out in the first before first baseman Kacy Clemens hit a comebacker to the mound that was fielded by OU sophomore right-handed pitcher Dylan Grove (Moore, Okla.). Grove’s throw to second was off target and the lead runner, left fielder Tate Shaw, scored from second after getting into a rundown between third and home. A second run came in on a sacrifice-fly to deep right.
The third inning started with a leadoff-walk to right fielder Travis Jones and then a groundball from Clemens to second was bobbled by junior Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.), whose throw to first was late. Texas capitalized with a second sacrifice-fly and a two-out single from center fielder Austin Todd. All four runs in the first three innings were unearned.
Grove (1-2) was dominant outside of the first and third. He struck out 10, but walked three and hit three in 5.2 innings of work. Righty Nolan Kingham (5-2) got the win for Texas. Kingham pitched seven-plus and allowed two runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
Oklahoma got its first run off of Kingham in the fourth. Senior third baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) drew a leadoff-walk to get the inning started. Senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) and senior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas) each followed with their second hit of the night. Hollas’ two-out knock up the middle scored Flansburg.
Sophomore right fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) chased Kingham from the game with a leadoff-home run to right in the top of the eighth.
Trailing by three entering the ninth, OU began a brief rally with a leadoff-home run crushed down the left field line by Martinez. Hollas followed Martinez two batters later with his third hit of the night to get the potential tying run to the plate with one out. A pair of pinch-hitters came to the plate, but were sat down by UT right-hander Beau Ridgeway, who recorded his sixth save of the season.
The Sooners and Longhorns take the field Saturday for game two of the series at 4 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) gets the start for Oklahoma after missing his last two starts.