NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma baseball team swept Baylor with a 6-1 win in front of 1,233 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday afternoon. The Sooners improved to 20-10 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12. OU is unbeaten through two Big 12 series for the first time in the 22-year history of the league and 6-0 in conference play for the first time since an 8-0 start to Big Eight play in 1984.
“Well we don’t talk about the success of it,” OU head coach Skip Johnson said of his team’s start to conference play. “We just talk about the game one pitch at a time. Success only comes with preparation and so we have to keep preparing like we have been and hopefully things will fall our way.”
Leading 2-1 in the fourth, the Sooners added to their lead with a pair of two run home runs by freshman third baseman Cade Cavalli (Bixby, Okla.) and junior right fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas). It marked the first time since opening day that OU hit more than one home run in a game.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nathan Wiles (Overland Park, Kan.) was extremely efficient through five innings of work. He gave up an unearned run due to a two-out error in the second, but stranded two in the frame. Wiles (2-1) then needed just eight pitches for a three-up, three-down frame in the third and duplicated that effort in the fifth. In the fifth, he loaded the bases with nobody out, but left them that way with a strikeout and two fly balls to center. Wiles scattered five hits and did not issues a walk, while striking out three.
“We executed one pitch at a time and Nathan got out of a big jam in the fifth with the bases loaded; it was a huge momentum boost for us,” added Johnson. “And Dylan [Grove] came in and dealt with the game one pitch at a time, which is really huge and to have him coming in out of the bullpen is really big.”
Oklahoma struck for the first run of the day in the bottom of the first. Sophomore shortstop Brandon Zaragoza (Moore, Okla.) lined a base hit to right field, moved to second on a walk to Walker and advanced to third on a fly ball to right. Sophomore catcher Brady Lindsly (Keller, Texas) then picked up his third double in as many games this weekend, sneaking the ball inside the third base bag, to bring in Zaragoza.
The Sooners regained the lead in the second as senior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) led off with a double to right-center. Freshman designated hitter Tyler Hardman (Corona, Calif.) followed two batters later with his own double to right-center that produced the go-ahead run.
In relief, junior RHP Dylan Grove (Moore, Okla.), who started on Tuesday vs. Oklahoma State, went four innings for his first career save. He gave up just one hit and one walk to go with three strikeouts.
Righty Jacob Ashkinos (0-2) lasted just 3.2 innings in the start for Baylor (13-12, 3-6). He was charged with six runs on seven hits and three walks.
Oklahoma hits the road Tuesday, April 3 for a 6:30 p.m. contest at Oral Roberts in Tulsa.