CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- The No. 14-ranked University of Oklahoma baseball
team rattled off its eighth straight victory to begin the 2013 season, knocking off Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 4-2, in the second game of the 2013 Kleberg Bank College Classic for both squads Saturday at Whataburger Field, the home of the Houston Astros' Double-A affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks.
The Sooners (8-0) are off to their best start since flying out of the gates to a 16-0 mark in 2011. OU is now 2-0 all-time against the Islanders (3-4).
Junior right-handed starting pitcher and preseason All-American Jonathan Gray went seven innings and struck out six to earn the win on the hill for Oklahoma and improve to 2-0 on the season. Freshman left-handed pitcher Jacob Evans earned his second career save, shutting the door over the final 1.1. frames of the ballgame.
Junior infielder Matt Oberste tallied a two-RBI base hit and extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games dating back to the 2012 season.
The Sooners jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the first. Senior infielder Jack Mayfield was hit by a pitch with one out, and senior outfielder/infielder Max White followed by coaxing a walk. Both advanced 90 feet into scoring position on a double steal, setting the table for Oberste to drive both home with a single back up the middle.
The Islanders got on the board in the home half of the fifth when junior shortstop Zach Taylor reached on an infield single to third and scored two outs later on a base hit by junior second baseman Cody Stephens. That's all Texas A&M Corpus Christi got, though, as freshman outfielder Craig Aikin laid out in right center to make a spectacular diving catch and rob freshman designated hitter Dominic Lopez of an extra-base hit and the Islanders of the tying run.
Oklahoma extended its lead back to two runs in the top of the seventh as freshman infielder/outfielder Hunter Haley reached on a fielding error by Texas A&M Corpus Christi senior first baseman Jonathan Gonzales and later scored on a fielding error by Taylor at short.
The Islanders punched back, though, plating a run in the eighth to cut OU's edge back to one. Gonzales got it started with a single up the middle, then was replaced on the base path by sophomore Kyle Danford. Danford advanced to third on a single down the right field line by senior infielder Brad Porras, then scored on a wild pitch. Porras advanced to third on another wild pitch, putting the tying run on third with just one out. OU junior southpaw reliever Ethan Carnes struck out Texas A&M Corpus Christi senior outfielder Eric Weiss for the second out. Evans was then summoned from the Oklahoma bullpen and got Texas A&M Corpus Christi senior outfielder Stafford Brantley to ground out to short to leave Porras stranded on third.
Oklahoma made Texas A&M Corpus Christi pay for the missed opportunity at tying the game by making it a two-run contest again in the top of the ninth. Junior catcher Dylan Neal sent a one-out single to center, then was replaced on the base path by freshman Justin Burba. Burba then stole second and scored one out later on a base knock up the middle by Aikin to make it 4-2.
Evans came back out to toss the bottom of the ninth for the Sooners and delivered like a veteran, retiring the side to secure OU's eighth straight victory.
Oklahoma closes out its time at the 2013 Kleberg Bank College Classic when it takes on New Mexico tomorrow morning. First pitch is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
OU inspires champions today and prepares leaders for tomorrow by enabling its student-athletes to achieve their highest academic, athletic and personal aspirations. The OU Athletics Department sponsors 21 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes and is completely self-supporting.
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