Sooners Take Two of Three Over Weekend

The No. 13 baseball team's winning streak was snapped at 10 games following a 5-2 loss to No. 10 UCLA in the final game of the Whataburger Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Sooners (15-2) won two of their three games in the tournament, with the loss being the only game where OU was held to single-digit runs.

The Sooners defeated Mississippi State in Friday's opener 16-5 and host-team Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday 11-2.

Junior pitchers Zach Neal and Bobby Shore lasted at least six innings in their starts on the mound over the weekend, but freshman pitcher Ryan Gibson suffered his second consecutive bad start after starting the season with two impressive victories.

Neal started the weekend against the Bulldogs by throwing 6 1/3 innings while giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out eight batters. He did allow Mississippi State to get an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Sooners offense exploded for six runs in the bottom half of the inning to give him some breathing room to work with.

The Sooners added two runs in the second, three runs in the third and two runs in the fourth to turn the game into a rout before scoring three runs in their final two at-bats to round out the final score at 16-5.

Neal (2-0) seems to be settling into the role of ace that head coach Sunny Golloway handed to him at the start of the season after struggling in his first two starts to start the season. Neal has allowed five runs in his last two starts and victories, lowing his ERA from double digits to 5.91.

Shore improved to 3-0 against the Islanders by going seven innings while allowing one run and six hits and striking out five batters. Like Neal, Shore gave up a run in the first inning, but it was clear sailings from there as he did not allow a run to cross the plate in his remaining six innings of work.

The Sooners' bats did not come out on fire like Friday, but struck for eight runs between the fourth and sixth innings en route to the nine-run victory Saturday. Sophomore third baseman Garrett Buechele went 3-5 with three RBIs and sophomore first baseman Cameron Seitzer tied the team lead in home runs by going deep in his only hit in three at-bats.

OU faced its first ranked opponent in UCLA on Sunday after playing two cupcake teams in the tournament, and the Sooners looked like they were not ready for their first big challenge of the year. The Bruins held OU to a season-low in runs, two, and gave up seven hits.

The game was close through eight innings, with UCLA leading 3-2 entering the ninth inning, but junior pitcher Ryan Duke could not hold the close deficit. He gave up two runs on one hit in the inning, and OU's hitters could not respond with any runs of their own.

The Sooners were put into a two-run whole in the fourth inning after Gibson was hit around in the early innings. Gibson gave up three runs in the fourth inning and six hits in the game before Golloway turned to Erben out of the bullpen.

Erben threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing three base runners – two on hits and one on a walk – but it was not enough to allow the hitters to mount a comeback.

Seitzer had a good tournament at the plate by collecting five hits in ten at-bats while driving in six runs.

The Sooners will start a five-game home stand at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the Massachusetts Minutemen. Senior pitchers J.R. Robinson and Michael Rocha are expected to make the two midweek starts before getting into the weekend rotation in OU's first Big 12 series of the season against the Baylor Bears.

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