NORMAN, Okla. -- A five-run seventh by the Horns' offense snapped a 4-4 tie and sent No. 10 Texas to a 9-4 victory over No. 14 Oklahoma in front of a crowd of 2,130 fans at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday, April 1.
The Longhorns' (21-10, 6-1 Big 12) win over the Sooners (20-9, 2-3 Big 12) not only secured UT a series win, but also extended their current win streak to a season-best six games. Additionally, the triumph coupled with a Missouri lost, moved Texas into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 standings.
The Sooners threatened from the start of the game as Kevin Smith reached on an error with two outs in the bottom of the first and appeared to be on his way home after Ryan Mottern hit a ball ticketed for the right center-field gap, but Kyle Russell (Tomball, Texas) made a diving catch to end the inning and keep the contest scoreless. In the second, the Horns placed runners on the corners with one out via a hit batter and a single from Russell. While OU starter Steve Guerra struck out his next hitter in an attempt to work out of the jam, Preston Clark (Rockwall, Texas) sent the first pitch he saw over the left-field scoreboard to stake UT to an early 3-0 lead.
After Longhorns starter Kenn Kasparek (Weimar, Texas) escaped another scoring chance from the Sooners in the bottom of the second, Texas used back-to-back singles from Drew Stubbs (Atlanta, Texas) and Carson Kainer (Tomball, Texas) to put two runners on with one out in the third. A failed pickoff attempt then allowed Stubbs to score and make it a 4-0 ballgame before an ensuing throwing error to the plate moved Kainer to third. Although the Horns were still challenging in the frame, Guerra held his ground and retired his next two batters to avoid further damage.
Following a scoreless fourth, Oklahoma put together a one-out rally in the bottom of the fifth with a single and two walks to load the bases. Reza was then hit with the second pitch he saw from reliever Joseph Krebs (Bridgeport, Texas) to score the Sooners' first run in 13.1 consecutive innings against UT and make it a 4-1 tilt. Even with the OU rally still alive, Krebs induced his next batter to hit into an inning-ending double play to keep Texas in front. One inning later, Oklahoma loaded the bases with one out for the second consecutive frame via three consecutive base hits. A single from Kody Kaiser then plated two runs before an error on the play combined with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jackson Williams to knot the game at 4-4.
While the Horns managed to work out of the sixth despite two errors in the frame, the offense went back to work in the seventh as a leadoff hit from Chais Fuller (Fairfield, Calif.) followed by a wild pitch and an error on a sacrifice placed runners on the corners with no outs. Chance Wheeless (Round Rock, Texas) then singled in one run to regain the lead for Texas before Stubbs connected on a three-run home run to establish an 8-4 advantage. Still with no outs in the frame, Kainer tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Russell to extend the UT lead to 9-4. From there, Texas reliever Randy Boone (Yoakum, Texas) tossed a scoreless seventh and worked around a one-out triple in the eighth before giving way to Austin Wood (Kingwood, Texas), who hurled a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the five-run victory. While Boone, who allowed one unearned run on four hits and fanned three over 2.2 innings of relief, earned the win, Guerra incurred his first loss in nine decisions for the Sooners. Of additional note, Boone made his first appearance for the Horns since Feb. 26 (vs. Villanova) after being sidelined with a right elbow injury.
Pacing the Texas offense, which has posted double-digit hits in 10 of its last 17 games with a 12-hit attack on the evening, were five players with two hits. Included in that group were Stubbs, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, his team-leading fifth home run of the year and three RBI, Clark, who drove in a career-best three runs with his second home run of the season, and Fuller, who went 2-for-4 and scored the eventual game-winning run. OU, meanwhile, was led offensively by Kaiser, who went 3-for-4 with one run scored and a pair of RBI. Of further note for Texas, Bradley Suttle (Boerne, Texas), who went 1-for-3 on the night, extended his current his streak to a career-best seven games and has now reached base safely in 30 of 31 games this year.
These two teams conclude their three-game series at L. Dale Mitchell Park with a 1 p.m. Central tilt on Sunday, April 2.