Tahlequah Daily Press

April 8, 2013

Sooners beat Texas to win series


— AUSTIN, Texas — As Oklahoma’s Hector Lorenzana sprinted to second base in the eighth inning Sunday afternoon, he caught Kolbey Carpenter motoring toward home out of the corner of his eye.

Lorenzana’s double in the left-field gap had just given the Sooners a two-run lead against Texas, and two runs felt like 10 in the final game of the Red River Rivalry series at Disch-Falk Field.

“I was pumped when I saw Carpenter rounding third. I knew we had a great chance of winning the ball game,” Lorenzana said.

The Sooners did, 4-2, claiming their first series against the Longhorns since 1998.

OU coach Sunny Golloway said he didn’t know it had been 15 years since it last occurred. However, his team played the way Texas in so many of those loses it handed  the Sooners during that period. In the rubber game of the series, OU (27-6, 7-2 Big 12) out-pitched Texas (17-13, 3-6), and clutch hits belonged to OU, too.

 “Their pitching was terrific, their pitching was outstanding. We did pitch just a little bit better,” Golloway said.

Sunday, the Sooners’ pitching staff pieced together a third straight dominant performance.

Starter Adam Choplick allowed two unearned runs over 2 2-3 innings. The bullpen held the Longhorns scoreless over the final 6 1-3, allowing just two hits and three base runners over that span.

“Our pitching keeps us in every game and it keeps us calm out there. We know we just have to score a couple runs,” said OU second baseman Jack Mayfield, who went 3 for 5 and scored the game-tying run in the eighth inning on Max White’s RBI single. “Today we only scored four runs, and we got the win. If we keep pitching like this, we’re gonna be in a great spot the rest of the year.”

Billy Waltrip (2-1) only faced one batter, but he fanned Texas Erich Weiss with a runner at second to end the seventh inning.

Jake Fisher and Ralph Garza Jr., shut the Longhorns down in the four previous innings.

Jacob Evans closed out the final two innings to get his fifth save of the season and second in the series.

With the exception of    Fisher, all those pitchers are first-year players. Whatever, demons had affected  the Sooners in past meeting with Texas didn’t bother them. The partisan crowd of 6,246 didn’t influence them either.

“It’s a huge environment, but you feed off of it and let it get the adrenaline flowing,” Evans said.

White, a senior, had been on the field eight losses in nine tries to Texas prior to the series and was a player who talked openly about the struggles OU had against the Longhorns.

However, he wasn’t think about those when he got a full-count slider from Texas closer Corey Knebel, who took the loss to fall to 3-2, and slapped it into right field.

“It was a clutch moment for me. I haven’t had too many of those and I hope to have more,” said White, after going 3 for 4. “To block the atmosphere and have the right approach against Knebel … taking a slider the other way was what I wanted to do and what I did.”

The victory has OU perched atop the Big 12 standings with a one-game lead over Kansas State after three series. Texas is now tied with TCU for last place after dropping its sixth straight conference series dating back to last season.

Fortunes for the rivals seemed to have switched. The Sooners finally beating the Longhorns and doing it in Austin certainly signals as a switch has occurred. For years, Texas beat  the Sooners with dominant pitching and clutch hitting.

It reversed this weekend. The Sooners only allowed four runs in the three-game series,   winning 2-1 on Friday before dropping Game 2 1-0.

“It took me four years, but we finally did,” said Mayfield, a senior. “The one thing that kept us in it was our pitching. UT only scored four runs all weekend. Putting our team in a position like that gives us a great chance for success.”


For the record

Oklahoma improved to 27-6 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12 Conference with Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Texas at Disch-Falk Field. The Longhorns dropped to 17-13 and 3-6.

Dominant on the mound

The Sooners only gave up four runs in the series. However, that doesn’t fully illustrate how dominant the Sooner pitching staff. The two runs starter Adam Choplick allowed were unearned. The only earned run the Sooners allowed was in Saturday’s 1-0 loss. The staff ERA’s for the series was 0.35 with 29 strike outs.

Not much offense

Texas’ pitching staff was pretty good as well. It’s ERA was 1.67 in the series. Both teams hit .189 (17 for 90)in the series. The difference in the series was OU left 17 base runners stranded in the three games. Texas left 22.

The only time in the series either team led by more than one run was after Hector Lorenzana’s two-run, game-winning double in the eighth inning.

Max White was the only OU player to hit over .300 in the series.  He went 4 for 12 (.333).

Oberste cools off

OU first baseman/designated hitter Matt Oberste entered the Texas series with 30-game hitting streak and batting .449. He went 0-for-10 in the series with four strikeouts, including three in Sunday’s game. Oberste hasn’t had a hit in his last 15 at-bats.

“Oberste didn’t see it too well in this series, but he’s carried us in a lot of games,” White said.

Where it stands all time

With the victory, OU’s record against Texas improved to 139-53-2 and 101-33-2 at Disch-Falk Field.

Up next

The Sooners don’t have a midweek series this week. They’ll travel south on Interstate 35 again this week when they open a three-game series at Baylor 6:30 p.m. Friday at Baylor (16-16, 5-3). The Bears face Texas-Arlington Tuesday.