FROM PRESS RELEASE
The OU baseball team lost a 5-4 lead in the middle of Sunday’s finale as No. 14 Texas rallied with three runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth to claim a 13-6 victory in front of 1,964 fans at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Longhorns also claimed the series victory with Sunday’s win, 2-1, and improved to 21-10 overall and 7-5 in the Big 12 conference. The Sooners dropped to 22-10-1 overall and 3-5-1 in conference play.
After falling behind 4-0, the OU offense plated five runs in the second inning, keyed by Trey Sperring’s two-run single. But the lead changed hands in the fifth as Texas handed Michael Rocha (2-1) his first loss of the year. The Longhorns combined to score six runs in the fifth and sixth innings and used extra insurance late to cruise to the victory.
“The key to the game was obviously the fifth inning,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “We had the momentum and that all of a sudden shifted jerseys.”
UT starter Riley Boening received a four-run cushion after the first two at-bats by the Longhorns. The two runs in the first inning and the second pair of scores in the second inning were all unearned after the Sooner defense committed three errors behind Rocha.
In the bottom of the second inning, Oklahoma responded and chased Boening out of the game with five runs off four hits. In addition to Sperring’s two-run single, Tyson Seng and Jamie Johnson shot singles through the left side of the infield to score Aaron Baker and Sperring and Aljay Davis added an RBI ground out.
In the top of the fifth, Texas regained the lead and forced the Sooners to go to the bullpen after Rocha allowed the first six hitters to reach base, four via base hits and two others on walks. After walking in the third run of the inning, Rocha was pulled for Ryan Mottern.
For the second straight day, the senior reliever faced a difficult situation with the bases loaded and zero outs on the board. But just like Saturday, Mottern answered the call with three consecutive strikeouts to hold Texas at bay. On Saturday, Mottern faced a similar situation with runners on first and second and no outs, and recorded two strikeouts and a ground out to limit the damage.
Unfortunately for the Sooners, Mottern’s effort was not enough. The Longhorns increased their lead with Kyle Russell’s second home run of the series. Russell took Ryan Duke deep with two runners on base and Texas held a 10-5 lead after six innings.
The Longhorns added extra insurance in the eighth as reliever Brandon Workman worked his way to the victory. His only mistake was allowing pinch hitter Casey Johnson’s second homer of the series and third this season in the sixth inning. Workman held OU to two hits and one run with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings and improved to 4-1.
With two outs and runners on second and third in the Sooner eighth, Workman left the game and was relieved by first baseman Brandon Belt. Texas got another solid performance from its bullpen as Belt struck out Aaron Baker and ended the Sooners’ best rally opportunity late in the game.
Sunday’s game marked the second time this season that the Sooners allowed double-digit runs. Friday’s series opener was the first such outing. The Longhorns plated the 13 runs on 14 hits in the finale on Sunday, while OU collected eight base knocks led by Jamie Johnson (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Matt Harughty (2-for-4, run scored).
Oklahoma will return to action Wednesday, April 9 at No. 11 Wichita State. The game is the first of two meetings between the Sooners and Shockers. The second and final game will take place in Norman on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park.