CNHI News Services
The challenge Oklahoma faced Sunday was unique to this season. It arrived at L. Dale Mitchell Park aching from its first loss and another to Pepperdine Sunday would have cost OU its first series to boot.
The Sooners’ reply was emphatic, rolling to an 8-1 victory over the Waves and improving to 11-1.
“I guess there was a little bit of revenge in us,” OU shortstop Jack Mayfield said after going 2-for-3 and driving in three runs. “Our pitching has been really good and kind of carried … We really wanted to come out and swing the stick today.”
The Sooners did get hot, banging out 10 hits, including three home runs.
Two of those games in OU’s decisive five-run fourth inning. Garrett Carey led off the frame with a solo shot and Max White added a two-run later. Mayfield added a solo blast in the eighth.
The offensive outburst came a day after OU stranded 11 base runners in the 7-2 loss to the Waves on Saturday.
“When we score runs, it gives the pitchers confidence and they settle down,” Mayfield added, “that’s what happened today.”
Redshirt freshman Adam Choplick held Pepperdine (7-5) to one run on four hits over 51⁄3 innings. The 6-foot-8 left-hander improved to 2-0 with the victory. Billy Waltrip came out of the bullpen and gave up just one hit and fanned seven over the final 32⁄3 innings.
The dominant pitching has been part of the Sooners’ winning formula all season. After Sunday’s game the staff’s ERA dropped to 3.22.
Getting that kind of run support against a quality opponent, however, was the bonus. The conditions were advantageous for home runs. The temperature was in the mid 60s and the wind was howling out to left field.
“We didn’t have a good approach early in the game. We were all trying to lift the ball because of the wind. Once we started focusing on hitting line drives, that was when the ball started flying,” White said.
The three home runs were a season high and gave the Sooners 10 on the season.
Jackson McClelland (1-1) took the loss for Pepperdine. He gave up all five of the runs in the fourth inning. Only one was earned. The Sooners scored four of the five runs after Pepperdine second baseman Hutton Moyer committed a two-out error that allowed OU’s Craig Aikin to extend the inning. Mayfield followed it up with a two-run double and White added the homer.
OU capitalized on every mistake the Waves made and showed it can move forward after a loss.
“I learned we have a lot character,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “I would have been disappointed at home and won the series. But, still, it was an unknown … This was our first opportunity to play a really good opponent in a really good three-game series.”