|No. 28 Oklahoma||7||0||4||5||0||0||0||0||X||16||20||2|
NORMAN, Okla. – Sophomore left fielder Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) hit two home runs and the University of Oklahoma baseball team totaled 20 hits for the first time since 2011 en route to a 16-6 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Tuesday afternoon. The Sooners picked up their third straight win to improve to 3-1, while the Golden Lions are winless at 0-5.
The OU offense was firing on all cylinders early as it put seven runs on the board in the first inning. The first four Sooner batters of the game combined to hit for the cycle in the bottom of the first. Sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas) got it started with a single to center and scored on Haley’s first homer of the game, a shot over the wall in right. Freshman shortstop Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) then laced his second triple of the season into the left-center gap and came around on a double to right-center by freshman first baseman Niko Buentello (Lewisville, Texas).
Oklahoma batted around and tacked on four more runs in the inning with RBI hits from senior second baseman Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.), junior third baseman Keach Ballard (Durant, Okla.) and a sacrifice fly by junior DH Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas).
Haley finished the game 3-for-5 with a career-high six RBI and three runs. He is the first Sooner to record six RBI in a game since Cody Reine in 2011. Haley’s previous career-high was three set on Sunday against Seton Hall. He has three home runs and nine RBI on the season.
Junior righty Connor Buchmann (Keller, Texas) made his first career start for the Sooners and went 3.2 innings in a no decision. He allowed six runs, only two earned, on four hits and three walks, while striking out three. Redshirt-junior righty Robert Tasin (Klein, Texas) pitched 1.1 innings of relief to earn the win. The OU bullpen combined to throw 5.1-shutout innings and totaled six strikeouts.
“[Our pitching] was exactly how we designed it,” stated Hughes. “We wanted to get those young guys on the mound, so we could build depth and build confidence in our bullpen. There are some talented young arms in there. We’ve just got to get them out there and get them ready. I would like for our freshmen to be accomplished products before we get in to league play, easier said than done.”
Oklahoma produced a four-run inning in the third and a five-run inning in the fourth. Four different players recorded a RBI in the third and Haley smashed a three-run home run in the fourth.
Buentello went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, while sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Eight players recorded a multi-hit game for the Sooners.
Right-hander Humberto Zavala (0-1) lasted just 0.1 inning as he surrendered six earned runs on six hits. Right fielder Jerimiah Figueroa went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI out of the nine-hole for UAPB.
The Sooners and the Lions face off again on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.
· Oklahoma hit for the cycle with its first four batters in the first inning.
· Hunter Haley beat his career-high for RBIs in a game with six. His previous record was three.
· The last time an OU player had six RBIs in a game was Cody Reine on June 4, 2011, vs. Appalachian State in the NCAA Tournament.
· Hunter Haley hit two home runs, one in the first inning, one in the fourth, giving him three home runs in the last two games.
· The last time an OU player hit two home runs in a game was Matt Oberste against Baylor on May 26, 2012.
· The Sooners had 20 hits. The last time the Sooners had 20 hits was 22 against St. Gregory’s on March 27, 2011.
· Keach Ballard is the third starting third basemen in four games. Sheldon Neuse and Kolby Carpenter were the other two.
· Oklahoma leads the all-time series with UAPB, 13-0.
· Through the first four games, OU has put up two or more runs in an inning 11 times.
· The Sooners have scored 15 or more runs in back-to-back games.
· Freshman righty Alec Hansen made his first career appearance and ended the game on a strikeout with a 97 mile per hour fastball.