NORMAN, Okla. – Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) homered in the second and Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) homered in the third to provide all of the offense needed in a 4-1 win for the University of Oklahoma baseball team over Abilene Christian at L. Dale Mitchell Park, Wednesday afternoon. The Sooners improved to 8-4, while the Wildcats dropped to 6-3.
For Alspaugh, the OU redshirt-junior right fielder, it was his first career home run, while it was sophomore left fielder Haley’s fourth of the season and sixth of his career. The Sooners have hit 10 home runs on the season and are 4-0 when hitting two in a game.
Five pitchers combined to give up just one unearned run on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight batters. Freshman left-hander Octavio Rodriguez (El Paso, Texas) earned the win in two innings of work in his first career start. Rodriguez (1-0) struck out one batter and surrendered two hits.
Senior second baseman Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.) made his first career start at shortstop; ending a streak of 75 straight starts at second base.
“There is no one in our program that can turn a double play like Hector, and that is such an important play,” stated head coach Pete Hughes. “In one play you get two outs. He is very skilled at that play but he is also, I think, our best defender. So I am trying to get the bost of both worlds. When I let him play shortstop he is a veteran presence and he gets everyone settled down and then when you get into a double play situation you aren’t going to lose anything because you put him back at second base to turn the double play for you. I think he is that talented defensively.”
ACU right-hander Garrett Demeyere (2-2) lasted five innings in the loss. The only two runs he allowed were on the early solo home runs. Demeyere totaled six hits given up and one walk, while tallying two strikeouts.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats cut the lead to 2-1 when catcher Seth Spivey broke home from third after center fielder Tyler Eager attempted to steal second. Eager pulled up, allowing Spivey to score, before being tagged out.
The Sooners added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. With the bases loaded, junior second baseman Keach Ballard (Durant, Okla.) stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and singled up the middle to score two runs. Sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas), who singled with one out, and junior first baseman Mac James (New Braunfels, Texas), who reached on an error, both scored on the play.
“These first year guys, they are kind of tip-toeing their way around to see if they can be successful at this level and that goes for junior college kids too,” said Hughes. “There is some doubt in their heads. So for Keach to get up there and deliver is going to give him a lot of confidence and it’ll give our young guys a lot of confidence. It will also tell our young guys who haven’t gotten a chance to play a whole lot, you know Keach was in and out of the lineup and hadn’t played in a while, instead of sulking or hanging his head he had hung in there and when the opportunity presented itself he was ready.”
Sophomore right-hander Ralph Garza Jr. (New Braunfels, Texas) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to lock down his second save of the season.
Sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas) had a day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a walk. For ACU, left fielder Brandon Grudzielanek went 2-for-4.
Oklahoma and Abilene Christian take the field against Thursday at 3:00 pm.
· The Sooners have rolled out 12 different starting lineups in 12 games this season.
· Lorenzana had a string of 75 straight starts at second base as he made his first appearance at shortstop
· Aikin, in center field, is the only Sooners to start all 12 games at the same position.
· This was the first meeting between the two schools.
· Aikin picked up his fifth multi-hit game of the season and second three-hit game.
· James made his first career start at first base and has started at four different position this season, while Ballard has started at three.
· With a runner on first base and less than two outs, Lorenzana switched to second base for double play situations and Ballard shifted to shortstop.
· RHP Robert Tasin struck out Kyle Giutsi on the 16th pitch of the at-bat to end the top of the third.
· The Sooner bullpen has totaled 36 scoreless innings of the 45 complete innings pitched.
· Oklahoma has scored two or more runs in an inning 25 times this season.