Center fielder Craig Aikin led off the bottom of the 11th with a single to left center, and veteran shortstop Jack Mayfield slammed a deep shot to center that glanced off the center’s glove and allowed Aikin to score and OU to walk off 11-10.
”You know, I knew Jack was gonna get it done,” Aikin said. “However it was, I knew Jack was going to get it done, get me in scoring position for Max [White] or he was gonna get the job done himself. And sure enough he did.”
Before that, though, it took some ninth inning heroics to even get to that point.
A fielding error, then a single and fielder’s choice plated the first run to make it 10-8 and get that started.
Mayfield singled and White reached on his third hit by pitch of the weekend, loading up the bases.
First baseman Matt Oberste took care of that, mashing one right back through the box to tie the game.
”It was really good,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “Even when it was 10-9, as a coach you’ve gotta figure out because things happen pretty quick with games ending and this kind of stuff and how you’re gonna address your club. And, you know, it’s a young club.”
”I mean, there’s veteran clubs where I probably go in the locker room and have a little hear to heart with them and today would have been one of those, ‘Hey, I’m proud of the way you came back and fought.’”
The Sooners averted major trouble in the top of the 10th—a bases-loaded, nobody out jam had them on the ropes of re-giving up the lead—to keep things tied and preclude the walk-off.
Reliever Jacob Evans (1-0) earned the win, while Hofstra’s Brett Schreiber received the loss.
”What can I say? We had some young guys grow up,” Golloway said. “How about Jacob Evans coming into that situation and getting that double play ball? That was pretty special.”
OU junior college transfer Billy Waltrip, who looked like he’d suffer the loss, was eventually taken off the hook, though he was tagged for five earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.
He struck out five, but also walked five and gave up three hits.
Mayfield, Oberste and catcher Dylan Neal each led OU’s offense with a pair of hits and RBI.
Hofstra leapt out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second.
An RBI double off the bat of center Matt Reistetter, followed by an RBI single from designated hitter Brent Hall got it to that point.
The Pride added another in the third on a fielder’s choice before left fielder Max White’s RBI flyout put OU on the board.
Hofstra added four in the fourth to go up 7-1 before the Sooners cut that in half the following half inning on Neal’s RBI double and Mayfield’s RBI groundout sandwiched between a run-scoring wild pitch.
But the Pride came back with two more the next inning courtesy of Neal’s throwing error trying to catch a runner at second and shortstop Kevin Brantley’s ensuing RBI double into the left field corner.
”They got to play loose,” Golloway said. “We got to play tight. And we just kept trying to tell our guys to have some looseness and some freedom.”
With that, OU chipped into that 9-4 lead in the bottom of the seven when a pair of walks, followed by a pair of hit batters allowed it to plate a run.
Then, Lorenzana lined an RBI single into right.
A 6-4 fielder’s choice during Aikin’s at bat scored another to draw OU within two at 9-7.
Hofstra added an insurance run in the top of the ninth—Reistetter notched his second RBI double of the day—before things got interesting in the bottom half.
In a narrow 3-2 decision in the opener, it was all about third baseman Garrett Carey, who finished with a perfect four-hit day on four plate appearances.
That included an RBI triple to left center he mashed to make it 1-0 in the bottom of the third.
OU added consecutive runs each in the fourth and fifth innings, starting with second baseman Hector Lorenzana’s homer over the left field wall and an inning later by catcher Anthony Hermelyn’s RBI flyout to right.
Meanwhile, Sooner starter Jonathan Gray mostly dealt until he found trouble and was chased in the seventh shortly after Pride left fielder Kenny Jackson’s two-run jack.
Still, the junior spanned 6 2/3 solid innings while striking out six, walking just one and allowing just one earned run on three hits.
”I was pretty happy with it,” Gray said. “I mean, I just gotta develop the rest of it and it’ll come along as it goes.”
Relievers Jake Fisher and Robert Tasin protected the lead, as Tasin picked up his first save of the season.
The biggest concern remains OU’s defense, as it has already committed nine errors in just three games, including five on this day.
”I mean, we’re solid defensively,” Carey said. “I mean, we thought we weren’t going to be able to score runs before this started and you see what we’re doing. I mean, defense is one of our strong points. We just gotta get back and clean it up a little bit.”
The Sooners and Pride conclude the four-game set at 1 p.m. Sunday.