Feb. 16, 2013
Box Score (PDF)
NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma baseball team responded to its first true test of the 2013 campaign like champions, turning a six-run deficit after three and a half innings into an 11-10 walkoff victory over Hofstra in the bottom of the 11th to sweep the Saturday doubleheader at L. Dale Mitchell Park and win the weekend series.
Freshman outfielder Craig Aikin led off the home half of the 11th with a single to left center, then set off a Crimson & Cream celebration when he scampered home after senior infielder Jack Mayfield gave a fly ball a ride into center that bounced off the glove of Hofstra outfielder Taylor Stuart to provide Oklahoma with the victory.
OU (3-0) begins a season with three straight wins for the fourth time in eight years under head coach Sunny Golloway and first time since opening the 2011 season with 16 straight triumphs.
"I thought we executed really well," said Golloway. "What can I say? We had some young guys grow up. What our young guys learned today from the veterans is that we don't panic."
The Sooners entered the bottom of the ninth trailing the Pride (0-3), 10-7. Junior catcher Dylan Neal got things started for OU when he reached on a one-out fielding error by Hofstra -- one of four committed at the shortstop position on the day. After freshman outfielder Justin Burba replaced Neal on the base path, junior infielder Hector Lorenzana put runners on the corners with a single to right center. Burba pulled the Sooners to within two when he scored on a fielder's choice that put Aikin on. Mayfield put two on with two outs by flicking a single into left. After Hofstra dipped into its bullpen, senior outfielder/infielder Max White was hit by a pitch to fill the bases with Sooners. That set the table for junior infielder Matt Oberste, who cracked a two-RBI single to plate Aikin and Mayfield and knot the score at 10-all and send the contest to extras.
"The team did a really good job of getting on base and laying the bat down," said Oberste. ""We're not quitters. We're going to go out there and fight until whatever inning."
The Pride threatened to take back the lead in the top of the 11th, loading the bases with two outs. Redshirt sophomore righty Robert Tasin did his part to get the Sooners out of the jam by forcing a pop up before giving way to freshman southpaw Jacob Evans, who enduced a 4-6-3 double play to keep the game tied.
The Sooners found themselves staring at a 7-1 hill to climb after over three innings play but began chipping away at the Hofstra (0-3) advantage with three runs in the home half of the fourth. Senior infielder Garrett Carey drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a passed ball, and junior catcher Dylan Neal doubled him home. After Neal moved up to third on a wild pitch, Lorenzana and Aikin drew back-to-back walks to load the bases and chase Hofstra right-handed starting pitcher Nick Kozlowski from the game. Neal scored OU's second run of the frame when he crossed home plate courtesy of a wild pitch, and Lorenzana made it a three-run affair when he scored on an RBI ground out by Mayfield.
Hofstra got two runs back in the top of the fifth to up its advantage to 9-4. Oklahoma clawed back again in the seventh, though, with a three-run frame. Oberste and redshirt sophomore outfielder Colt Bickerstaff coaxed back-to-back walks, and Carey loaded the bases one out later when he was hit by a pitch. Neal bumped home Oberste when he was struck by a pitch, and Lorenzana followed with a base hit to left to plate Bickerstaff. Neal made it 9-7 when he scored on a fielder's choice that put Aikin on, helping to set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Six Sooners posted multi-hit efforts in the victory, as Aikin, Mayfield, Oberste, Bickerstaff, Neal and Lorenzana each collected two base knocks. Evans earned his first career pitching victory in relief.
The Sooners close out the first weekend of competition when they host Hofstra in the final contest of the four-game weekend set. Freshman righty Corey Copping is scheduled to make his first career start for Oklahoma. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.