NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma baseball team began the day with a 1-0 shutout of Holy Cross at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday. In game two of the day, the Sooners (2-4) fell to Valparaiso, 11-4.
Junior right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) struck out 11 in the game one win. He tossed six scoreless innings of two-hit ball. Irvin (2-0) gave up singles to the first two batters he faced before striking out five of the next six, including the side in the second
"I think he was really in the moment today," first-year head coach Skip Johnson said of Irvin's start. "When you're in a 1-0 game, you've got to go pitch and try to throw some goose eggs up. You've got to take it pitch-to-pitch. He had some big strikeouts in key situations and I think he stepped his game up for us."
In the bottom of the first, junior left fielder Cade Harris (Leona, Texas) led off with a double to left-center and came around to score on a RBI-single from senior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.).
Junior righty Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) and freshman lefty Levi Prater (Ada, Okla.) combined to keep Holy Cross scoreless in the seventh and eighth. A Chris Rinaldi single followed by a sacrifice-bunt off Hansen in the eighth put a man in scoring position and led to Prater entering the game. With two outs, Holy Cross’ Austin Masel singled through the left side. Harris charged the ball and threw home, beating Rinaldi to the plate and preserving OU’s 1-0 advantage.
For the ninth, Oklahoma turned to junior right-hander Connor Berry (Sugar Land, Texas). He sat the Crusaders down in order with a pair of strikeouts to record his second save of the season.
In game two, the Sooners fell behind early as Valparaiso scored three in the first, including a leadoff home run by second baseman Chase Dawson. The Crusaders got six more on four hits in the second and added a home run from third baseman Sam Shaikin in the third.
Off the bench, OU redshirt-sophomore Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas) went 2-for-2, scored two runs and hammered the first home run of his career. Harris homered as well, but made contact with Murray on the base paths and was ruled out. He was credited with a single and one RBI.
Oklahoma takes the field again Sunday at 10 a.m. against Holy Cross with senior RHP Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) on the mound. Junior RHP Kyle Tyler (Oklahoma City) gets the ball in game two against Valparaiso at approximately 2:30 p.m.