March 18, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. – The Texas Longhorns won their fifth consecutive game and recorded their seventh three-game series sweep of the Oklahoma Sooners since 1999 with their 9-4 win on Sunday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Longhorns, who have recorded 14 consecutive series wins over the Sooners, improved to 10-8 on the season and 3-0 in Big 12 action. Oklahoma fell to 11-9 overall and 0-3 in Big 12 play.
The win marked Texas’ seventh straight victory in Norman. The Longhorns took the series finale in 2008 and recorded sweeps in 2010 and 2012.
Texas, who entered the contest with just two first-inning runs, drew first blood with two runs in its first at-bat. The Longhorns appeared to be running themselves out of the inning. Mark Payton was issued a base on balls to start the inning and was caught stealing and Tim Maitland followed with a single to leftfield and was likewise caught stealing. With two outs, Erich Weiss drew a walk and Jonathan Walsh singled through the left side of the infield to put a pair of runners on. Alex Silver singled to rightfield, plating Weiss and Walsh scored when the throw to retire him at third base went wide of the fielder.
The Longhorns tacked on a run in the top of the second. Landon Steinhagen deposited a full-count offering down the rightfield line for his third double of the season. Brooks Marlow pushed him to third base with a sacrifice bunt. After Jordan Etier was retired on strikes, Payton punched a single into centerfield to send Steinhagen home for the 3-0 lead.
The Texas lead ballooned to 4-0 in the fourth inning when Payton continued UT’s hot two-out hitting for the weekend. Payton hit a moon shot over the leftfield fence for his first career home run.
Texas added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning. Steinhagen was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and with one out Etier drew a walk. With two outs, Maitland hit a rope down the rightfield line that was snagged by the Sooners’ first baseman Chase Simpson. Maitland beat out Simpson in a foot race to the bag and Steinhagen, who was running form second on the pitch, continued home to score for the 5-0 lead.
Oklahoma cut the lead to 5-2 in the home half of the sixth. With one out, Hunter Lockwood was issued a walk. Lockwood was replaced at first base by Chase Simpson on a fielder’s choice. Caleb Bushyhead broke up a no-hit bid by Texas freshman starter Parker French with a two-out single to leftfield. Jack Mayfield was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Max White singled to drive in two runs.
The Longhorns produced two runs in the visitor half of the seventh to take a 7-2 lead. A leadoff walk by Walsh, single through the left side of the infield by Silver and double down the leftfield line by Jacob Felts produced the first run and Silver scored on a groundout by Etier to give Texas another five-run advantage.
The Sooners showed life in the bottom of the seventh. Evan Mistich hit a leadoff single and with two outs and Hunter Lockwood hit a two-run home run over the left centerfield fence to trim the lead to 7-4.
Texas stretched the lead back out to five runs with a pair in the ninth. Felts dropped a double into the Bermuda Triangle in left centerfield to start the inning. Marlow singled up the middle to drive in Felts and moved to second base on a throwing error. Marlow moved to third on a grounder by Etier and scored on a grounder by Payton to inflate the cushion to 9-4.
The Longhorns, who entered the series with a game-high of 13 hits, matched or exceeded the total in all three games. Texas pounded out 17 hits on Friday and 15 on Saturday. The Horns amassed 13 hits on Sunday, including two apiece from Payton, Maitland, Walsh, Silver and Felts. Payton went 2-for-5 with one home run, one stolen base and three RBI.
Oklahoma had six different players record hits. White and Lockwood each tallied two RBI.
French (3-0) earned his second victory of the week. He cruised through the first 5.2 innings without yielding a hit. He pitched 6.2 innings, yielding four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Dillon Peters faced one batter to get out of the seventh inning and John Curtiss pitched 2.0 shutout frames with one hit and one strikeout to earn his first career save.
Steven Okert (2-2) was saddled with the loss for Oklahoma. The southpaw labored through 1.2 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out two.
Texas returns to action on Tuesday as the Longhorns host the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in a 6 p.m. contest at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.