NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 30 University of Oklahoma baseball team won its fifth straight with a 9-5 non-conference victory over Big 12 foe No. 24 TCU in front of a crowd of 1,154 at L. Dale Mitchell Park, Tuesday evening. The Sooners improved to 16-5 and the Horned Frogs dropped to 12-8.
Oklahoma overcame a season-high five errors as it outhit TCU, 12-10, in the win. A four-run sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie and put the Sooners, who added two more in the seventh, ahead for good.
“[The hitters] did a good job,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “That’s one of the better pitching staffs in the country if you look at their numbers. Their strikeouts per inning and strikeout to walk ratio are ridiculous. They got their strikeouts but we had our productive outs as well. We got them on the ropes and when we had a chance to get the big hit we got the big hit. I thought our guys did a great job offensively.”
Sophomore lefty Jacob Evans (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was the third pitcher used in the ballgame for OU. He pitched 1.1 innings and allowed just two hits, while striking out one. Evans (2-1) got the win, but it was the effectiveness of redshirt-junior right-hander Robert Tasin (Klein, Texas) that kept the game from getting away from the Sooners early.
“[Tasin] is like the rest of those guys out there,” Hughes said of his first reliever of the night. “They are dependable and they are strike throwers. Whenever you get guys who like to compete and throw strikes and don’t hurt themselves, they give you a chance. He dug us out of a bad start. Connor [Buchmann] just didn’t have it tonight and we look for our veteran bullpen guys to help us in those situations. They did it again and they have been doing it all year.”
Tasin relieved junior right-handed starter Connor Buchmann (Keller, Texas) with the bases loaded, two outs and one run already in. Tasin retired his lone batter of the inning and sent Oklahoma to bat trailing by just one run. Buchmann surrendered one run on two walks and two hit batsmen in his 0.2 inning of work. Tasin pitched a career-long four innings and gave up two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out four.
TCU snuck ahead in the second inning after shortstop Keaton Jones walked, stole second and scored on a base hit looped over short by right fielder Dylan Fitzgerald on the Horned Frogs’ first hit of the night. Oklahoma immediately responded in the bottom half, scoring twice, to take its first lead of the game. Redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and sophomore first baseman Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) set the table with a walk and a single, respectively. On a base hit to right-center by junior second baseman Keach Ballard (Durant, Okla.), Alspaugh initially held up at second before breaking late and scoring. Hermelyn then came in on a groundball double play.
After quiet third and fourth innings, TCU pulled even with a run in the fifth. The Sooners broke out in the bottom of the inning with four runs on four hits. Senior second baseman Hector Lorenzana (San Diego, Calif.) and sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas) each singled to put two runners on. Haley followed with his second double of the game, a bouncing ball down the right field line over the glove of the diving Horned Frog first baseman Jeremie Fagnan. With one out, runners on the corners and one run in, freshman DH Niko Buentello (Lewisville, Texas) pounded a ball through the right side to score Aikin. Haley initially rounded third to score, but held up late as the throw was rushed in from right field.
For the game, four OU players recorded two-hit games, including the top three batters in the order that combined to for 6-for-14. Aikin was 2-for-5, both singles going the opposite way through the hole, and two runs scored. Haley was 2-for-5 with two runs and a RBI as he and Neuse both doubled twice.
Third baseman Derek Odell led the TCU offense with a 3-for-4 night to go with a run and a RBI, while DH Kevin Cron was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Left-hander Alex Young (1-1) took the loss in two innings of relief. He surrendered five hits for three runs and struck out three. Righty Trey Teakell started and lasted two innings; allowing three runs on four hits and a walk.
The Sooners return to action tomorrow with a 6:00 pm game at home against Arkansas-Little Rock. Freshman right-hander Alec Hansen (Loveland, Colo.) is scheduled to make his first career start.
· Oklahoma is 12-2 at home this season and has won nine of its last 10 overall and 11 of its last 13.
· The Sooners allowed and scored a run in the first inning for the third time in four games.
· Oklahoma has scored two or more runs in an inning 39 times and three or more 24 times.
· Neuse recorded his second two-double games of the season. The first came last week at UT Arlington.
· Haley recorded two doubles in a game for the first time in his career.
· The Sooners played in front of their fourth home crowd of over 1,000 this season.
· The game lasted three hours and 30 minutes; the longest played by OU that did not go to extra innings or have a rain delay.
· The win marked the first of the season for the Sooners over a ranked opponent.
· Oklahoma has won 11 of the last 13 match-ups with TCU.