NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma baseball team’s bats exploded for 17 hits in a 16-4 win over No. 29 Alabama in front of 1,775 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday evening. The Sooners clinched the series behind their largest scoring day of the year and sealed the win with an eight-run eighth inning to improve to 6-5 on the season.
Junior third baseman Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) drove in a career-high five runs and contributed to Oklahoma’s early lead. He drove in the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the second and later added a two-run double in a four-run fourth; an inning that expanded the Sooners’ lead from two runs to six. Senior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) registered the first four-hit day of his career, scored two and drove in three, including a two-run home run.
“Hits are contagious in the game of baseball,” began OU head coach Skip Johnson. “Making sure guys stay in control of themselves has been a big improvement. Going through routines, especially with two strikes, has been huge this weekend.”
Oklahoma entered the eighth with an 8-2 lead. The Crimson Tide (9-2) plated two runs in the top of the inning to cut the Sooner lead to four, but OU responded by sending 13 men to the plate and scoring eight runs on seven hits. The big blow in the inning came on a bases-clearing double into the right fielder corner by sophomore shortstop Brandon Zaragoza (Moore, Okla.), who finished the game 3-for-6.
Senior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) lasted four innings in the start. He allowed one run in his final inning of work and scattered five hits and two walks, while striking out two, in the no-decision. Junior RHP Dylan Grove (Moore, Okla.) was the first Sooner out of the bullpen. In 1.2 inning of relief, Grove (1-0) got the win.
Righty Jake Walters (1-1) took the loss for Alabama. He surrendered six runs on six hits and four walks with four strikeouts in 3.1 innings pitched. First baseman Hunter Alexander led the Crimson Tide lineup with three RBI on a 3-for-5 day.
Mendenhall was 4-for-5, while Ware was 2-for-6. Sophomore catcher Brady Lindsly (Keller, Texas) added a 2-for-2, three-walk game and freshman designated hitter Cade Cavalli (Bixby, Okla.) was 2-for-5.
Oklahoma and Alabama take the field for the final time this weekend for a noon first pitch on Sunday in Norman. Junior RHP Kyle Tyler (Oklahoma City) toes the rubber for the Sooners.