NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma baseball team’s bats came to life in the seventh inning to turn a one-run deficit into a three-run lead en route to a 4-1 win over Kennesaw State at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday afternoon. The Sooners clinched the series behind seven-strong inning from junior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) and improved to 14-7 as winners of nine of their last 11.
Perez (2-0) allowed a leadoff-single in the second and did not pitch with a runner on base again until a dropped fly ball put a runner on second in the seventh. A soft-liner to right by Owls first baseman Taylor Allum plated the runner from second and broke a scoreless tie.
Oklahoma’s offense, which had six hits in the first six innings, but nothing to show for it, went to work in the bottom half to get Perez on the long-end of the decision. Sophomore catcher Brady Lindsly (Keller Texas) led off with a single and was sacrificed into scoring position. Senior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) then singled in the tying run before a bases-loaded wild pitch put OU in front, 2-1. Junior left fielder Cade Harris (Leona, Texas) added to the Sooners’ lead with a two-run single through the left side.
Perez needed just 80 pitches to get through seven innings. He allowed just two hits, one unearned run and did not issue a walk. RHP Brooks Buckler lasted 6.1 innings for Kennesaw State (8-12) in the loss. Though he exited with the game tied, 1-1, he was responsible for Mendenhall. Buckler (1-1) allowed two runs on eight hits, did not issue a walk and struck out two. Junior RHP Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) entered with a runner aboard in the eighth and went two innings with four strikeouts to record his first save.
Mendenhall led the OU lineup with a 3-for-3 day. Harris was 2-for- in the leadoff spot.
The series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m. Freshman Cade Cavalli (Bixby, Okla.) gets the start for the Sooners.