“We had our chances early, then we went five innings without a hit,” reflected head coach Pete Hughes. “We always try to rally late and it’s always a little too little. We have to figure out how to play better in the middle innings and we’ve got to get our bullpen back to feeling better. That was the story of the game. We gave up 13 hits, we had eight. They turned more double plays than us. We left the same amount of men on base. It was a wish and prayer to get a hit there by Hunter Haley. We got beat long before the ninth inning and that last at-bat.”
Trailing 6-1 in the eighth, Oklahoma began its comeback attempt beginning with a lead-off single by sophomore center fielder Craig Aikin (Coppell, Texas). The Sooners loaded the bases with one out and sophomore left fielder Hunter Haley (Nacogdoches, Texas) was hit by a pitch to score Aikin. Sophomore first baseman Anthony Hermelyn (McKinney, Texas) then cut the lead to three with a base hit through the left side that plated one. The Mavericks were able to limit the damage to two runs by turning their third double play of the day to end the inning.
“We do it at a rapid pace,” Hughes said of hitting into the twin-killing. “When you’re not super fast and have team speed and aren’t super athletic, innings get shortened. Teams that can run and beat that stuff out, they score runs with productive outs, they extend innings, they extend pitch counts. We’re not that team. We need to get to be that team, or else we need to keep the ball elevated, keep it off the ground.”
Freshman starting third baseman Sheldon Neuse (Fort Worth, Texas) moved from shortstop to the mound and pitched a perfect ninth inning to keep Oklahoma within reach of UTA. Junior Keach Ballard(Durant, Okla.), who played both third and short, led off with a hit by pitch and Aikin singled for the second time to put two runners on with one out.
Redshirt-junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (Broken Arrow, Okla.) hit an infield single to the hole at short that loaded the bases to bring up Neuse. Facing the Mavericks’ seventh pitcher of the night and fourth of the inning, Neuse got jammed on a 2-2 pitch and muscled it out to right field to score two runs. Following a groundout that put two runners in scoring position with two outs, it took the eighth pitcher of the night to put the Sooners down for the count. (More at SoonerSports.com)
|W - Hobbs (4-1)||2.2||0||0||0||1||2|
|L - Tasin (3-4)||4.1||6||2||2||1||4|
|S - Tornberg (2)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0|
|UTA - Tate||4||1||3||2||1||0|
|OU - Aikin||3||3||2||0||1||0|