Sooners Stay Hot in Week 3 weekly recap, future Previews, and more

Weekend Success:


The No. 18 University of Oklahoma baseball team wrapped up a four-game sweep of Central Connecticut State with an 11-2 win at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners’ win-streak hit 12, while their record improved to 13-1. The Blue Devils dropped to 4-5 with the loss.

“We got a little sloppy out there and missed a couple signs but that’s the fourth game of a four-game series,” recalled OU head coach Pete Hughes. “We have to clean some things up offensively still. I give our guys a hard time with the bunting fundamentals, but it provided us with a lot of offense this weekend. We’ve got to be able to do that, especially when the conditions change. When the winds blowing like that, we have to get our short game going and be able to play two or three different offenses to be good in [the Big 12].”

Sophomore Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) extended his hit-streak to 17 games in a 3-for-3 performance, including an inside-the-park home run to right-center in the third inning that gave Oklahoma its first lead of the day.

Central took an early lead with a single run in the top of the first. Right fielder Franklin Jennings tripled to start the game and scored on a force out. Two innings later, Jennings reached on a leadoff-error and came in on a double play as OU sophomore right-hander Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.) traded an unearned run for two outs.

The third inning began with a double to left by redshirt-sophomore right fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.). He was sacrificed to third and redshirt-freshman left fielder Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas) drew a four-pitch walk. Murray then stole second and the throw from behind the plate skipped into center field; allowing Walbergh to score. Walker then put Oklahoma in front as he lifted a fly ball to the gap, which found the turf; alluding the dive attempt by the CCSU right fielder.

Walbergh finished the game 2-for-3 with a double and his second home run of the year. Senior second baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.) also added a 3-for-4 afternoon.

“It’s dedication in the weight room and dedication to his team,” said Hughes of Walbergh, who started just 15 games in his first two seasons. “The kid is consumed with getting better and getting in the weight room and getting better at this sport. That happens in June, July, and August, when nobody’s watching. He got healthy this summer and didn't play baseball and got in the gym. It’s paying off and it’s good for our young guys to see a guy that’s worked hard and been able to transform.”

The Sooners totaled three home runs in the game as senior center fielder Ben Hollas (Longview, Texas), who came on for Murray in the middle of the game, sent a three-run shot over the wall in right to cap off a five-run seventh inning.

Junior right-hander Devon Perez (Ashburn, Va.) was the first Sooner reliever to enter the game. Madden allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in the start. Perez (2-0) then came on for three-scoreless frames with two hits and a walk against him and three strikeouts. Four OU relievers combined to throw six-shutout innings.

Saturday Sweep:

The Sooner baseball team swept a Saturday doubleheader against Central Connecticut State at L. Dale Mitchell Park by scores of 13-2 and 6-1. The Sooners ran their win-streak to 11 and improved to 12-1, while the Blue Devils evened their record at 4-4.

“These are long days and you can’t look too far ahead,” opened OU head coach Pete Hughes. “It was an important day for our program. We had to regroup after game one to face a really good arm. For us to beat to really good arms in that second game, that’s what I wanted to see. I wanted to see a tight game and some toughness from our team and we got that today.”

Oklahoma hitters totaled four home runs in the opener, including a three-run jack by sophomore Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) in the fourth inning that gave the Sooners a 5-0 lead. Walker extended his hit-streak to 15 earlier in the game with a RBI-double and finished with a three-hit performance.

“He’s pretty focused and he’s not swinging at the pitcher’s pitch,” Hughes commented on Walker. “He has got a plan up there and if it’s out of the zone he’s been disciplined to wait for his pitch.”

Oklahoma pulled away late with eight runs combined in its last three trips to the plate. The Sooners put three runs on the board in the seventh, including back-to-back solo home runs by freshman catcher Brady Lindsly (Keller, Texas) and junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.), his team-leading third of the season.

In the eighth, OU took advantage of three free passes and cashed in with four runs on its only hit of the frame. Freshman Jeremiah Adams (Mattapoisett, Mass.) was called on to pinch-hit and promptly blasted a grand slam out to left field.

Redshirt-junior left-handed pitcher Austin Kerns (Owasso, Okla.) earned the win for Oklahoma with three innings of relief. Kerns (1-1) allowed a run in the seventh inning and totaled four hits and a walk against him with three strikeouts. Sophomore righty Kyle Tyler (Oklahoma City) lasted four innings in the start. He held Central scoreless and to one hit, but walked four and struck out four.

Blue Devil right-hander Mike Appel (0-2) took the loss in 3.1 innings of work. He surrendered four run on four hits and three walks.

In game two, sophomore right-hander Austin Hansen (Lenexa, Kan.) pitched 5.2 innings of one-run ball to get the win. Hansen (2-0) allowed just one run in the fifth, which ended his scoreless-streak at 12 innings, and a total of four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

The Sooners jumped on the board with two runs in the third. Freshman shortstop Brandon Zaragoza (Moore, Okla.) laced a leadoff-single and scored from second on a sacrifice attempt that was thrown away. Mendenhall doubled the OU lead with a RBI-single to right-center.

Late in the game, Walker ripped a double in the seventh inning to move his hit-streak to 16 games. He finished the nightcap 2-for-4 as he singled in the eighth as well.

Friday Night Dominance:

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) struck out a career-best 14 in a 3-0 win over Central Connecticut State for the University of Oklahoma baseball team in front of 1,053 at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Friday night. The Sooners won their ninth in a row to improve to 10-1, while the Blue Devils dropped to 4-2.

Irvin (3-0) ran his season total in strikeouts to 31 in 20 innings of work after six-shutout innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk. Irvin’s strikeout total was the most by a Sooner since Michael Rocha fanned 13 against Texas A&M in 2011. He struck out three in an inning in the second, fourth and sixth and struck out five in a row for the second time in his career between the fourth and fifth innings.

“I thought his last inning, his fastball was best,” commented OU head coach Pete Hughes. “You know 70 percent of his breaking balls he throws for strikes. That’s an insane number. I had to take him out because it’s early. When you punch out so many guys, you’re throwing a lot of pitches and there’s not too many first-pitch outs. He was at 94 pitches because 14 of his 18 outs were strikeouts.”

The Sooners struck for the only run they would need in support of Irvin in the fourth inning. Oklahoma strung together three consecutive one-out singles to produce the run before CCSU lefty Brendan Smith limited the damage with a groundball double play. Junior second baseman Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) got the offense going with a bunt-single pushed to the right side and sophomore center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) extended his hit-streak to 14 games with a single to right that put runners on the corners. Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) had the green light on 3-0 a batter later and lined a single up the middle to score Mendenhall.

An inning later, sophomore third baseman Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) led off with a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a base hit by senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.). Ware then came home on a balk to double the Oklahoma lead. The Sooners quickly had the bases loaded with nobody out and redshirt-freshman left fielder Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas) ripped a hotshot past second to move everybody up a base and drive in a run. Smith then escaped with no further damage as a struck out two and got a force out.

Three OU right-handers would finish the game on the hill in the final three innings. Sophomore Connor Berry (Sugar Land, Texas) came out of the bullpen for the seventh and accomplished the rare four-strikeout inning. He got the first Blue Devil looking then allowed a baserunner on a third-strike wild pitch before finishing the frame with two more batters fanned.

“That’s how we want to set it up,” stated Hughes of his bullpen lineup. “You piece together the seventh with Connor Berry or Austin Kerns and then we had Vinny [Aiello] in the eighth and JB [Olson] to close.”

Graduate transfer Vincenzo Aiello (Staten Island, N.Y.) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with one strikeout before senior JB Olson (Shady Shores, Texas) came on for the ninth. Olson earned his second save of the season, but not before loading the bases. Central got a man aboard with a one-out walk and then a two-out, pinch-hit single and a second walk put the potential tying run on base. Olson stranded all three as he got a swing and a miss for the 20th OU strikeout of the night.

Midweek Victory:

The University of Oklahoma baseball team registered a 10-5 win over Little Rock at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Tuesday afternoon. The Sooners improved to 9-1 overall and ran their win-streak to eight games. The Trojans dropped to 2-6 with the loss.

Oklahoma grabbed a run in the first and second before Little Rock tied the game in the second. Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) put the Sooners back in front in the third, 4-2, with a two-run home run to left field but the Trojans would use the long ball to tie the game once again. Center fielder Hunter Owens and shortstop Zach Baker hit back-to-back homers to start the third inning.

“I came out this morning and saw the flags and I knew the park was going to play offensive,” opened OU head coach Pete Hughes. “You know they’re going to score some runs, so you’ve got to have a confident offense that keeps their heads down and doesn’t look at the scoreboard. I thought we did a great job of that.”

Tied 4-4, Oklahoma used a six-run fifth to pull away as 10 Sooners went to the plate in the inning. Back-to-back one-out walks set the table for sophomore center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas), who pulled a base hit through the right side to drive in the go-ahead run and extend his hit-streak to 13 games. O’Brien followed with his third knock of the day; driving in his fourth run of the afternoon to push the OU lead to two runs.

The Sooners continued to hit as they strung together three consecutive two-out hits. Sophomore designated hitter Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) and senior catcher Renae Martinez (San Pedro, Calif.) singled before redshirt-sophomore right fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.) delivered the knockout blow. Walbergh, who hit a solo home run in the second, blasted a two-out triple to the wall in left to cap the Oklahoma scoring.

“Sometimes as a coach, you look at your lineup and you feel you’re giving up a little bit of offense there for some defense, but I don’t do that with our lineup,” Hughes commented on the bottom of the Sooner order. “We have so many interchangeable pieces. I like the depth of our lineup and I love the fact that our 7-8-9 guys can drive runs in.”

A total of 16 pitchers were used in the game. Sophomore right-hander Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.) pitched three innings in the start for the Sooners. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Nathan Wiles (Overland Park, Kan.) pitched just 0.1 innings and earned the win. Wiles (2-0) surrendered one run on a hit and a walk. Sophomore right-hander Connor Berry (Sugar Land, Texas) tossed 1.1-scoreless innings of relief and struck out a team-high three batters.

As a team, Oklahoma posted eight two-out runs batted in and went 6-for-13 at the plate with two gone. O’Brien led the charge in a 3-for-4, four-RBI effort with two two-out, RBI-singles. Walbergh drove in three on a 2-for-4 day. Martinez also finished the game 2-for-4 with one run scored and one driven in.

Next Up:

Oklahoma continues the home stand on Tuesday evening as non-conference rival, Wichita State comes to Norman for an anticipated matchup with the Sooners. The Sooners hold an all time 16-11 series lead over the Shockers, along with winning 9 of the last 10 meetings. Tickets can be purchased at the link at the top of the article, or by calling the OU Ticket Office at (800)456-GoOU


Brendan Flynn- Ty Russell- OU Athletics 

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.