The Sooners swept their second doubleheader of the young season Tuesday with 4-2 and 11-1 victories over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to move to 6-0 on the young season.
In game one, it was the Adam Choplick show, as the redshirt freshman from Denton, Texas, struck out six, walked none and allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings in his career debut.
“Everything just started to come together,” Choplick said. “I calmed down. Just being out there on the mound, it really helped just with the confidence boost.”
Meanwhile, OU got just enough offense, including a three-run third inning that started with back-to-back triples from left fielder Hunter Haley and center fielder Craig Aikin.
Shortstop Jack Mayfield grounded home Aikin, then designated hitter Matt Oberste singled and scored on third baseman Garrett Carey’s double to complete the frame.
That allowed the Sooners to overcome an early 1-0 deficit the Lions obtained courtesy of OU’s first of four errors in the contest.
OU tacked on another in the bottom of the sixth when left fielder Hunter Haley sacrificed home catcher Anthony Hermelyn.
Middle reliever Ralph Garza, Jr., though he gave up an earned run, staved off a potential major rally in the seventh, getting out of a bases loaded jam surrendering only one run to seal up the victory.
Reliever Jacob Evans picked up the save after striking out five, walking none and limiting the Lions to one hit in two innings of work.
”You look at the way that Ralph Garza throws the ball and then you turn around and look at the way Jacob Evans throws the ball, I mean, all freshmen in game one,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “That was pretty amazing.”
The nightcap was more of the same in terms of results.
In fact, a lot more of the same, a run rule to be exact.
“The way we turned it up in game two was very pleasing,” Golloway said. “Sometimes winning a lot of games isn’t good for you. You learn more from losing. I hate to say it, but you do.”
The Sooners wouldn’t lose this one though, as they took the early lead in game two when designated hitter Justin Burba hit home Carey on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the second.
Moments later, they executed a double steal to score second baseman Hector Lorenzana and make it 2-0.
Lorenzana pounded a fourth inning double into the left center gap to extend the advantage to 3-0.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Dylan Calhoun delivered an RBI single off Dillon Overton, who came in relief in the top of the fifth, to trim the deficit to 3-1, but that’s as close as it would get.
Oberste slammed a three-run homer over the left field wall—and it could have been a grand slam had Aikin not gotten picked off shortly before—in the bottom half to give OU a 6-1 lead.
“Well, Jack was on third and I was just trying to get a sac fly in,” Oberste said. “And just told myself I’m going to see something up and he left it up. I put a good swing on it.”
OU added another in the seventh when Carey’s fly to right fell by virtue of an error and allowed Oberste to waltz home.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff pitcher Mike Ludwig then plunked Sooner second baseman Dusty Dishman, loading the bases and setting up catcher Dylan Neal for a sacrifice fly to make it 8-1.
The Sooners finished it off with three runs the following inning, including Haley’s sacrifice fly and the game-winning two-run double to left center off pinch hitter Jake Smith’s bat.
Oberste paced OU’s offense, going 4-for-8 with three RBI to raise his season total already to 12, while Lorenzana finished a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in game two.
Carpenter, White and Haley each also put together multi-hit outings on the day.
With the victory and all six on the home stand, OU takes its perfect record on the road for the first time to the 2013 Kleberg Bank College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, where it will play Iowa, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and New Mexico Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
“I think the way that we had to beat Hofstra, it prepared us in a lot of ways,” Golloway said. “We were challenged coming from behind, holding on to a lead, doing everything. And then again today, I’m telling you we’ve played Pine Bluff many, many times. That’s the best Pine Bluff club that we have seen, and they’re gonna beat some people.
“They have some good arms. They came in here 2-1, having defeated North Dakota State, who always challenges in their conference. So, you know what? That coach and his assistants are doing a great job, so it wasn’t a gimme. I mean, we had to earn it today. We knew we had to earn it.”
First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. this Friday.