“He got a good pitch to hit and the conditions were offensive early on for the right side of the field so it was good to get Jack going,” Hughes said of Flansburg’s home run. “He’s a kid that we missed terribly last year down the stretch. He can handle a bat, bunt and he walks like no one’s business. It’s good to get that little power surge and take some pressure off our offense.”
Perez (1-0) totaled five innings of work and gave up two runs on three hits, all in his final inning of work. He registered eight strikeouts without allowing a walk. The Tigers first got to Perez in the top of the seventh with a leadoff solo home run by third baseman Daniel Barnett.
Oklahoma poured in four more runs in the eighth inning, which started with a single through the right side by Blake Brewster (Moore, Okla.) to leadoff the frame. A pair of bases-loaded walks forced in two runs before sophomore designated hitter Domenic DeRenzo (Pittsburgh, Pa.), playing his first game since June 2016 Tommy John surgery, lifted a sacrifice-fly to the deep right field corner that scored two more runs.
Oklahoma put crooked numbers up on the board four times and as early as the first inning with a pair of runs. Redshirt-freshman left fielder Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas) drew a leadoff-walk in the bottom of the first and sophomore third baseman Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.) followed with a single up the middle to set the table. Sophomore center fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) then singles home Murray, who went first-to-third on the Ware single, for the first run of the game. OU would add a run in the inning on a sacrifice-fly by senior second baseman Jack Flansburg (Orange, Calif.).
The Tigers tied the game at 2-2 immediately in the top of the second as catcher Johan Mojica hit a leadoff-double to left-center and designated hitter Rafael Ramirez put a two-run home run over the wall in right.
In support of sophomore right-hander Ryan Madden (Westminster, Colo.), the Sooners added three runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. Madden (1-0) got the win in just 4.2 innings of work with a predetermined pitch count heading into the day. He finished with 72 total pitches and allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
“I thought Ryan was good,” Hughes said of the OU starter. “When he lands his secondary stuff a little more, he is even better, but that is who he is. He gives you a chance to win because of his competitive spirit and his ability to throw a strike with a fastball. He lets up a two-run homer and boom, he is right back in the zone. Nothing rattles the kid, and when you have that kind of competitive spirit you will always have a chance.”
Senior first baseman Austin O’Brien (Owasso, Okla.) was issued a leadoff-walk and Flansburg hit a ground-rule double to straight away center that put two runners in scoring position with no outs in the fourth. Grambling’s lefty starter Jonathan Reid (0-1), who had minimized the damage in the first with a sac-fly and a double play, got two quick outs before the Sooners were able to push across a run. Redshirt-sophomore right fielder Quin Walbergh (Edmond, Okla.) put OU back in front with a two-run triple ripped off the left field wall. He would end up scoring a batter later on an error by the Tigers’ third baseman to push the Sooner lead to 5-2.