Two big hits and one big error propelled Oklahoma to a 4-1 win over the ACU Wildcats on a brisk and overcast Wednesday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Baseball Park.
The win pushes the Sooners to 8-4 overall, while the Wildcats fall to 6-3. The two teams will wrap up their brief two-game series Thursday at 3 p.m. ACU will then be off to Arlington where the Wildcats will play three games this weekend in the UT-Arlington / Hilton Invitational where they will play Missouri State (Friday), Utah (Saturday) and UT-Arlington (Sunday).
With Oklahoma leading 2-0 going to the top of the eighth, the Wildcats finally scratched across a run on a two-out double-steal that saw Seth Spivey cross the plate before Tyler Eager was tagged out at second base to make it a 2-1 game.
In the ninth, ACU pitcher Brady Rodriguez got a groundout to start the inning before Anthony Hermelyn reached on a hard-hit single to left field. Rodriguez then induced what could have been an inning-ending double play ground ball from Mac James, who was 1 for 4 on the day. But ACU freshman shortstop Aaron Draper committed his second error of the day (third for the team), allowing James to reach first and Hermelyn to move to second base. Both runners moved into scoring position when Rodriguez got a groundout to first base by Taylor Alspaugh.
ACU head coach Britt Bonneau then brought Hunter Wakefield in to pitch and he immediately walked Hector Lorenzana on four pitches to load the bases. Then after delivering a first-pitch strike to Keach Ballard, the Sooners' No. 9 hitter shot the second pitch he saw right back through the box for a two-run single to push OU's lead to 4-1.
That turned out to be the only hit for either team with runners in scoring position as they combined to leave 15 runners on base (six for ACU and nine for OU). In fact, outside of two solo home runs by the Sooners early in the game, only four runners combined reached third base in the game (two for ACU and the two that scored in the eighth for Oklahoma).
"We had the guy we wanted in the game in that situation," Bonneau said. "Wakefield throws a cutter that breaks in on left-handers, but he just left a pitch up and the guy put a good swing on it. Our team put us in the position we needed to be in to have a chance to win the game and we had the right personnel on the field, but, hey, they got the key hits and we didn't."
ACU's best chance to score early on came in the third inning when Seth Spivey walked and went to second on a single to right field by Tyler Eager. But the Wildcats' cleanup hitter, Kyle Giusti struck out to end the inning, leaving the Wildcats trailing 1-0. In the fifth, Jordan Forrester singled with one out and went to second on a groundout by Spivey. But Draper struck out swinging to end the fifth-inning threat.
ACU starting pitcher Garrett Demeyere threw five solid innings, allowing six hits and two runs while walking just one batter. But he gave up a pair of two-out solo home runs, one in the second inning to Alspaugh and another in the third inning to Hunter Haley. Demeyere took the loss to fall to 2-2, but it was a solid bounce-back performance after he gave up eight hits and seven runs (all earned) in five innings last Friday night in a 12-0 loss to Missouri State.
Octavio Rodriguez picked up the win for the Sooners, despite going just two innings in his first start of the season. OU went through four other pitchers, and Rodriguez – who left the game with the lead – was awarded the victory to improve to 1-0.
Information for this story provided by ACU Athletics.