Baseball Wins 17-8, Evens Series at Rice
HOUSTON – The Oklahoma baseball team outscored Rice 13-0 in the final four innings, putting up nine runs in the eighth, to defeat the Owls 17-8 and even the series at Reckling Park.
The Sooners (12-3) tied the game with four runs in the sixth inning before exploding for nine runs in the eighth. Senior third baseman Brylie Ware went 4-for-6 with a home run and five RBIs. His two-run single in the sixth tied the game at 8-8, and his solo homer to lead off the eighth gave OU the lead. Sophomore Aaron Brooks (1-0) got the final out of the seventh inning with a strikeout to strand two runners, earning his first career victory.
Junior shortstop Brandon Zaragoza drove in three runs and scored three runs, junior second baseman Conor McKenna scored three runs and drove in two, and sophomore designated hitter Cade Cavalli homered and scored twice.
“Situationally, we got big hits with runners in scoring position and that was what really separated the game,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “Having the offense pick up the pitching was the difference today.”
Ware gave the Sooners the lead in the eighth inning, launching his second home run of the season to left center. After consecutive singles by Hardman and Cavalli, junior catcher Brady Lindsly reached on an error to load the bases. McKenna drew an RBI walk and Muniz hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 11-8. Three more bases-loaded walks and a two-run single by Ware made it 17-8. OU scored nine runs on four hits and sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning.
The Sooners loaded the bases in the first inning and plated the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Cavalli. In the second inning, Zaragoza smacked a two-out double to left center, scoring McKenna and freshman center fielder Milan Walla from first and second to make the score 3-0.
Rice (7-9) tied the game in the third inning with a solo home run by shortstop Trei Cruz and a two-run home run by catcher Justin Collins. The Owls took a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout and a double.
Cavalli crushed his first home run of the season over the grass berm beyond the left field wall in the top of the fifth to cut it to 5-4. Rice then extended its lead to 8-4 with three runs in the bottom half on a two-out three-run triple by second baseman Cade Edwards.
Oklahoma immediately responded with four runs in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Zaragoza’s grounder was fielded at third base, but the throw sailed over the catcher’s head allowing McKenna and freshman left fielder Diego Muniz to score on the play. Ware followed with a two-run single to left center, tying the score at 8-all. Muniz finished with two hits and an RBI.
Rice reliever Jackson Tyner (0-1) took the loss.
The Sooners (12-3) and Owls (7-9) play the rubber game at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The series finale was moved up 30 minutes from the originally scheduled time of 1 p.m.