Thursday, March 14, 2013

Baseball: No. 17 Sooners Defeat New Mexico State

Senior infielder Jack Mayfield lifted a sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning to push the No. 17-ranked University of Oklahoma baseball team to a 3-2 walk-off triumph over New Mexico State Wednesday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

The Sooners (14-4) won in walk-off fashion for the third time in 2013 and swept the midweek series over the Aggies (8-10) in the process. OU blanked New Mexico State, 8-0, Tuesday. Oklahoma takes a two-game winning streak into the weekend, bouncing back from a 1-3 four-game stretch last week.

"I think it's good to drop some games and keep our athletes' attention at this point in the season," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "Our young guys are doing a great job of keeping things simple and not trying to do too much at the plate, and same thing on the mound."

Freshman infielder Kolbey Carpenter got OU's march to victory started in the ninth when he sent a single through the left side, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Anthony Hermelyn.

Carpenter reached third safely when he eluded the tag of New Mexico State freshman infielder Derek Umphres, which allowed sophomore pinch hitter Mac James to reach safely on a fielder's choice. That set the table for Mayfield's game winning sac fly.

Mayfield led the Sooners at the plate with a double and a single to go along with two RBI and a run scored.

"Jack's been playing well," said Golloway. "He may have been pressing a little bit offensively, but your defensive responsibilities affect your offense. Moving Jack from second to short and entrusting him to quarterback our defense has affected him offensively starting out, but he's starting to play better defensively, so his offense will improve."

Carpenter added two hits and scored a run. Junior infielder Matt Oberste extended his hitting streak to 21 consecutive games dating back to the 2012 season, which is tied for the fourth-longest such streak in OU history with Kevin Burdick (1986) and Zach Lekse (2000).

Freshman southpaw reliever Jacob Evans earned the win on the mound for OU, improving to 2-0. He fanned two over two perfect frames of work, including getting the Sooners out of a key bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth to keep the contest tied at two-all. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Hayes made his first career start for Oklahoma, fanning a career-high six over five innings of work.

OU landed the first punch by plating a run in the first for the second game in a row. Mayfield hit a leadoff single through the left side and later scored by way of an RBI groundout by senior outfielder/infielder Max White.

New Mexico State tied the game in the fourth, then took a 2-1 advantage in the sixth, but the Sooners struck back in the seventh to even the score at two-all. Freshman pinch hitter Justin Burba sent a one-out double down the left field line and scored one out later on an RBI double to left center by Mayfield.

The Aggies loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth, but Evans entered the game and extinguished the threat by striking out New Mexico State senior pinch hitter Cody Edwards looking, then forcing senior outfielder Kyle Phillips to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

"Regardless of the pressure or excitement going on around him, he just seems to focus and make his pitches," said Golloway.

Oklahoma opens a three-game weekend set against Northwestern State Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised live on FOX College Sports.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
 NM State 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 5 2
 Oklahoma 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 9 0
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