GEORGIA ON OUR MIND The 17-2 sooners head to atlanta for first road trip of season

SATURDAY'S ARE FOR THE SWEEP

The No. 13 University of Oklahoma baseball team completed its season-opening homestand with a 17-2 record following a 4-1 win over Buffalo at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday evening. The Sooners’ scoreless-inning streak against the Bulls ended at 25 in the top of the seventh and sophomore center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) saw his hit-streak end at 21 games.

“I tell the guys, you don’t look at the scoreboard, don’t look at the crowd whether it’s 10,000 or 150 and you don’t talk about the elements, you talk about beating someone,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “That’s kind of the mentality we have and I thought we did a decent job.”

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.) was terrific for 6.2 innings in the start for OU. In the longest start of his career, he struck out a career-high six. Madden (2-0) gave up one run on three hits and two walks and retired 19 in a row between the end of the first and beginning of the seventh.

The Sooners put two runs on the board in the second and sixth inning. Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) reached on hit-by-pitch to lead off and senior third baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) followed with a base hit to set the table. Sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) then broke the scoreless-tie with a base hit rocketed up the middle. Oklahoma added a second run later in the inning on a RBI-single to left by redshirt-sophomore left fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.).

In the sixth, OU loaded the bases with two outs on a Ware single, an error and a hit-by-pitch. Buffalo (4-8) went to its bullpen and sophomore right fielder Blake Brewster (Moore, Okla.) greeted the new pitcher with a two-run single back up the box to make it a 4-0 game.

The Bulls got a run back in the top of the seventh and threatened in the eighth despite not making contact in the inning. Graduate right-handed pitcher Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, N.Y.) struck out two and walked two before being lifted for senior right-hander JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas). Olson hit the first batter he faced before getting a called strike three to leave the bases loaded. Olson stayed on to pitch the ninth and recorded his fourth save of the season.

Ware finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk as Oklahoma outhit Buffalo, 6-3. Senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) added a 2-for-3 day with a run scored.

FRIDAY: DOUBLEHEADER SHUT OUTS

After the two sides combined for 26 runs in the series opener on Thursday night, Oklahoma scored the only run of the first game in the bottom of the sixth. Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.) came through with his third hit of the day for a two-out RBI that pushed across the run.

Buffalo threatened to go in front in the top of the sixth with a runner on first and two down. Shortstop Ben Haefner singled to right-center, where OU senior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas) cut the ball off in the gap. Hollas fired to the cutoff man, junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.), who fired home to senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) to apply the tag and prevent the Bulls from scoring.

“Awesome to pull out a win,” began head coach Pete Hughes. “I keep telling our guys that I want to see us play from behind. I just do not know how we are going to be in that situation during tight games. We have not done that enough and I thought we did very well with it last night. There were situations in that last inning where the lead off guy gets off, JB [Olson] makes a pitch and you have to set your defense and a lot of strategy is involved but at least we have our guys thinking in those terms because we are going to see a lot of that soon.”

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) tossed a career-high seven-scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts. Hansen (3-0) needed just 92 pitches to get through the seventh. Senior right-hander JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas) nailed down a two-inning save for his third of the season. He struck out four, including the final two outs of the game with the potential tying run at third.

In game two, the Sooners grabbed a quick lead with three runs on three hits in the first inning. Sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) delivered the big blow of the inning; a two-run double to left field. Ware, who went hitless in the opener, finished the nightcap 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI and three runs.

“Pretty advanced approach,” Hughes said of Ware at the plate. “Mike [Anderson] gives him a great approach too. When you get good instruction, good preparation and a super-talented kid and a team-first kid he is going to have success.”

Oklahoma put crooked numbers on the board four times in game two. The Sooners added two in the third, four in the fourth and two in the sixth to push the game to its final score of 11-0 with OU claiming a run-rule victory in the seventh.

Junior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.), the first Sooner starting pitcher not in the sophomore class this season, pitched six-scoreless innings. He struck out a season-high nine and allowed just four hits without a walk on 93 pitches.

Sophomore outfielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) extended his hit-streak to 21 games with a 1-for-4 effort in game one and 1-for-5 night in game two.

THURSDAY:

Oklahoma got its 11 first-inning runs on 11 hits and a walk as the first six batters of the frame reached by way of a hit. Sophomore left fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) drove in the first run, while extending his hit-streak to 19 games. Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) followed and crushed a three-run home run over the 410-foot mark in right-center.

Through the first two innings, the Sooners led 15-1. Sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) was 3-for-3 in that short span with three RBI, a double and a run scored.

In the middle innings, Buffalo, which held a brief 1-0 lead in the first, put crooked numbers on the board in the fourth, fifth and sixth. OU sophomore right-hander Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) was lifted after the fifth and the ball was handed to a trifecta of freshman pitchers. The Bulls, who entered the sixth down 15-5, loaded the bases with no outs against the Sooner bullpen and plated five runs on four hits.

Irvin (4-0) got the win in five innings. He allowed five runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Nathan Wiles (Overland Park, Kan.), who came on as the third reliever of the sixth, finished the game for the Sooners with four innings of three-hit ball and five strikeouts.

Oklahoma outhit Buffalo, 19-13, for the game. Junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) went 3-for-6 with three runs scored. O’Brien totaled four RBI on a 2-for-2 effort with three walks scored. Seven Sooners recorded multi-hit games.

NEXT UP:

The Sooners take the show on the road for the first time all season, as they face Georgia Tech in a Tuesday night showdown, before taking on Georgia State (Wednesday) and Kennesaw State (Friday thru Sunday) to end the trip. This is the Sooners first trip in program history to these three schools. The matchup with Georgia Tech will be just the third time the schools have played since the 1994 National Championship game.

You can keep up with the Sooners on the road in a variety of ways. Use the buttons below to listen to all of the action with the Voice of the Sooners Toby Rowland, or to follow along on Twitter and Soonersports.com.

Credits:

Brendan Flynn/ Ty Russell/ Dillon Stanley

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