Sooners Win Opener of Skip Johnson Era

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 16, 2018
20 Indiana

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The University of Oklahoma baseball team picked up 6-3 a season-opening win under first-year head coach Skip Johnson over No. 20 Indiana at Field Friday afternoon. It marked back-to-back OU victories on opening day over a ranked opponent.

The Sooners outhit the Hoosiers, 9-7, behind a three-hit day from junior center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas). In a 3-for-4 effort, he doubled and homered to drive in two. Walker was the third OU hitter on the day to go yard.

Junior right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) got the win in five innings of work. He struck out seven and gave up three runs on four hits and two walks. Oklahoma pitchers combined to strike out 12 on the day.

The Sooners fell behind early as the first two batters of the day reached and came around to score against Irvin. Beginning with the final out of the top of the first, Irvin sat down seven in a row, including five strikeouts. OU pulled even in the bottom of the second as freshman first baseman Cade Cavalli (Bixby, Okla.) went yard with a two-run shot in his first collegiate at-bat.

An inning later, the Sooners took the lead with three runs on back-to-back home runs. Junior right fielder Cade Harris (Leona, Texas) drew a leadoff-walk and scored on a two-run blast to left by senior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.). Walker followed with a solo home run to the opposite field that snuck inside the left field foul pole.

Oklahoma added a run in the fifth as Harris picked up a lead-off double and scored on Walker’s ground-rule double to the track in right-center. Harris, batting leadoff, finished the game 3-for-3 and reached base all four times to the plate. Mendenhall added a 2-for-4 day as the top three hitters in the order combined to go 7-for-10.

Right fielder Logan Sowers led the Indiana offense with a 3-for-4 day that included a solo home run. Righty Jonathan Stiever (0-1) lasted four innings and surrendered six runs on eight hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

Irvin (1-0) handed the ball to junior right-hander Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) for the sixth. Hansen struck out the side around loading the bases and went back for a perfect seventh. Junior right-hander Connor Berry (Sugar Land, Texas) finished the day by tossing two-scoreless innings to record the save.

Sophomore RHP Nathan Wiles (Overland, Park, Kan.) gets the nod in game one tomorrow against South Alabama followed by senior RHP Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) on the hill against Coastal Carolina.