Ninth Inning Goes South in OU-Texas Opener
NORMAN – The No. 11 University of Oklahoma baseball team took a two-run lead into the ninth, but lost to No. 17 Texas, 7-6, in front of 2,331 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday night. The loss dropped the Sooners to 25-12 overall and 8-2 in the Big 12, while the Longhorns jumped to 23-1 and 10-3.
Texas got a leadoff-walk in the top of the ninth and wound up plating three runs on three hits. Center fielder Tate Shaw drove in a run with a one-out single to center to bring the Longhorn within a run. After a pitching change, left fielder Masen Hibbeler lifted a double to left-center that scored two runs and gave Texas its first lead since 1-0.
“You can’t walk the lead off guy and that happens, and I mean it was a tough at-bat, 3-2 fouled a pitch off went with a breaking ball and the guy took his walk,” began OU head coach Skip Johnson. “I think that might have been the only walk that we had all night long. If that is the only walk that we have all night long, it’s a bad time to walk him but I will take that.”
The Longhorns scored in the seventh, eighth and ninth against the OU bullpen and junior right-handed starter Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.). Irvin was lifted after a leadoff-triple to the lone batter he faced in the seven. A base hit up the middle by UT catcher DJ Petrinsky promptly brought in the run to trim the Sooner lead to 5-3.
Oklahoma answered in the bottom half of the seventh to get the run back on junior third baseman Brylie Ware’s (Sedgwick, Kan.) second RBI-single of the night. Texas once again got to within two on a home run to right by designated hitter Zach Zubia.
Junior RHP Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) took the loss in 0.2 innings of relief. Hansen (2-3) allowed three runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout. Irvin went six-plus innings, scattered seven hits, which yielded three runs, and did not allow a walk with six strikeouts.
“I was real confident. They hadn’t given up a run in Big 12 play and that’s a good team there is no doubt about that,” Johnson said of his key relievers. “They gave up a run, and they will be out there tomorrow and if they are healthy they will be out there next week, and if they are healthy they will be out there the next week. I mean that is who we have got and I love them and you can’t take anything away from that.”
Right-hander Bryce Elder went five innings in the spot start for the Longhorns. He surrendered four runs on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts. RHP Matteo Bocchi (2-0) earned the win with a scoreless ninth inning. He walked one and struck out another. Fellow righty Andy McGuire secured his fifth save of the season; pitching around a leadoff-infield single in the ninth.
For the game, Oklahoma outhit Texas, 13-12. Ware, sophomore catcher Brady Lindsly (Keller, Texas) and senior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) each went 3-for-5. Junior right fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) added a 2-for-3 night with his ninth home run of the season.
UT shortstop David Hamilton was 3-for-4 with a run and a stolen base. Second baseman Kody Clemens clubbed his 10th home run of the year.
Game two is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU. Senior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) gets the ball for the Sooners.