NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma baseball team followed up back-to-back, one-run, extra-inning wins with a 10-1 decision over Belmont at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners swept the three-game series to improve to 15-5, while the Bruins dropped to 7-12.
Sophomore first baseman Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) drove in four runs on a 2-for-3 afternoon, while freshman DH Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) went 4-for-5 with three RBI in his first career start.
“Our guys impressed me,” began head coach Pete Hughes. “I was surprised how well they adapted to the conditions and were really disciplined hitting the top half of the baseball for line drives and groundballs. It was uncomfortable to play in, but our guys did a tremendous job embracing the moment, making the best of it and playing hard. I thought it was a pretty mature effort for a young team.”
Freshman right-hander Jake Elliott (Coppell, Texas) improved to 2-2 with the win. He pitched six innings and allowed one run on six hits and two walks to go with five strikeouts. Lefty Patrick McGrath (1-3) took the loss for Belmont. He surrendered seven runs on nine hits and three walks in a five-inning start.
“[Elliott] pitched in tough elements with composure and threw a ton of strikes,” Hughes continued. “The park was playing really big today. He needed to pitch to contact and get a lot of groundballs. I thought Jake did really well at that.”
Oklahoma put up three runs or more in three different innings en route to the victory. In the third, the Sooners put runners on the corners with one out thanks to base hits by senior catcher Dylan Neal (McKinney, Texas) and sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas). On the next play, Neal was out at home on an attempted squeeze play, but with two outs freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) came through with a base hit up the middle to score Aikin. Hermelyn then drove in two with a single through the right side.
Oklahoma loaded the bases with just one out in the fifth inning with two walks, a sacrifice-bunt and an intentional walk. O’Brien came to the plate and lifted a high fly ball into the wind that turned around the right fielder and landed at the warning track for a bases-clearing and doubled the OU lead. Neal added a base hit to score O’Brien and push the lead to 7-0.
Against the Belmont bullpen, the Sooners added three more runs in the sixth inning. Senior shortstop Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and Neuse doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Hermelyn followed with a single up the middle to plate both runners. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded and one out, redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) picked up a sacrifice-fly to put the score at 10-1.
Sophomore LHP Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was the first OU reliever called upon out of the pen. He struck out the side in the seventh in his only inning of work. For the weekend, the Sooner relievers allowed only one unearned run in 16 innings.
Neuse went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a RBI, while Neal recorded his first multi-hit game of the season in his first start of the year on a 2-for-3 day with a RBI.
For the Bruins, center fielder Drew Ferguson went 2-for-5. Oklahoma outhit Belmont, 12-7.
The Sooners homestand continues on Tuesday with a non-conference game against TCU at 6:00 pm.
· Oklahoma is 11-2 at home this season and has won eight of its last nine overall and 10 of its last 12.
· Hermelyn recorded his second straight multi-RBI game and now has five on the season. The four RBI on Sunday is also a new career-high.
· This marked the first series sweep of the season for OU. The Sooners last swept a weekend series vs. New Orleans (4/19-21, 2013).
· Neuse hit his sixth double of the season and now leads Oklahoma with 12 extra-base hits on the season.
· Elliott’s six-inning start was the longest in a four-game week for the Sooners.
· Oklahoma has scored two or more runs in an inning 36 times and three or more 23 times.
· The OU bullpen tossed 15 shutout innings of the 16 innings pitched this weekend and has thrown 63 shutout innings in the 81 complete innings pitched this season.
· O’Brien and Neal both made their first start of the season.
· The Sooners have scored 10 or more runs in a game on five occasions this season.