NORMAN – In a game with four ties and five lead changes, the University of Oklahoma baseball team pulled away with an 1-7 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi in front of 1,127 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday night. The Sooners used a five-run seventh, capped by a grand slam from redshirt-sophomore center fielder Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas) to break a 6-6 tie and improve to 8-6 on the season.
Sophomore shortstop Brandon Zaragoza (Moore, Okla.) was 3-for-5 at the dish. He picked up two RBI, including a game-tying knock in the fourth and the go-ahead run ahead of Murray’s homer in the seventh. Murray was 2-for-4 with his team-leading third home run of the season.
“It was a good leverage count for him,” head coach Skip Johnson said of Murray’s home run. “It showed a lot of resilience for him to forget about the at-bat before. We always talk about it – one bat and one pitch at a time – so that was really big for him.”
Oklahoma scored in the first inning for the fifth game in a row and added to its early lead with two runs in the second. The Islanders (10-3) got on the board with two runs in the third to cut the OU lead to one. In the fourth, Corpus Christi loaded the bases with nobody out, tied the game on a force out and took a 4-3 lead on a groundout.
Zaragoza drove in the tying run from second on a base hit up the middle in the home half of the fourth. Junior right fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) then put the Sooners in front with a check-swing, infield-single.
The game continued its back-and-forth pace with the Islanders bouncing back to tie the game in the fifth, OU regaining the lead in the sixth and Corpus Christi tying it one final time in the seventh. The Sooners’ seventh-inning rally began with two outs as freshman designated hitter Cade Cavalli (Bixby, Okla.) drew a walk and was pinch ran for by junior Domenic DeRenzo (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Junior left fielder Cade Harris (Leona, Texas) drew his fourth of five walks on the night to set up Zaragoza’s go-ahead base hit past third. Walker then walked to load the bases for Murray, who blasted a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left-center.
Oklahoma’s two through five hitters combined to go 9-for-17 as Walker and sophomore first baseman Brady Lindsly (Keller, Texas) each added 2-for-4 nights. Lindsly chipped in with a double and two RBI.
Junior right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) lasted 4.1 innings in the start. He allowed five runs on four hits and five walks. The third Sooner reliever of the night, junior RHP Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) entered for the seventh. Hansen (2-1) got the win in one inning of work with two runs, one earned, against him on one hit and one strikeout.
Right-hander Dustin Lacaze went 4.2 innings in the start for the Islanders. He surrendered five runs, three earned, on nine hits and three walks with five strikeouts. RHP Leonel Perez (1-1) got the loss in 1.1 innings of work with three runs charged to him on two hits and two walks.
Oklahoma and Texas A&M Corpus Christi play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Senior RHP Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) gets the ball in game one for the Sooners followed by Cavalli’s first career start in the nightcap.