Saturday, 20 March 2021 17:59

OU Baseball: Sooners Top Houston in Series Opener

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OU Baseball: Sooners Top Houston in Series Opener soonersports.com

OU Athletics Communications Press Release

Written by Eric Hollier

CAREER NIGHT FOR OLDS     BOX SCORE     BOX SCORE (PDF)     PHOTO GALLERY     

NORMAN – Wyatt Olds registered a career-high 10 strikeouts over 6.0 innings and Brandon Zaragoza went 2 for 3 with three RBIs to lead the Oklahoma baseball team to a 7-2 win over Houston Friday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

By throwing six innings, Olds (1-2) also matched his career-long outing (he struck out nine batters over six innings last season in a start against Illinois State). Olds dueled with Houston starter Robert Gasser (2-2) in a 2-1 game through five frames, before the Sooners (10-7) broke it open with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. OU added two more runs in the eighth. The Cougars (10-7) scored runs in the second and seventh innings.

“I thought Wyatt was more of himself tonight,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “He settled in and gained a little bit of confidence as he went through it. We faced a good left-hander in Gasser, and he was really good. It was a tight game, and we took the momentum with a leadoff walk and then Kenny (Pettis) laid a beautiful bunt down the third base line and we kind of started separating the game at that time.”

Zaragoza eclipsed 100 career RBIs, becoming the 42nd Sooner to reach 100 RBIs (102), 100 hits (196) and 100 runs scored (128) in his career. The senior from Moore, Okla., came through with timely at bats, singling home two runs in the sixth and then hustling for a one-out double in a 10-pitch at bat that started the scoring rally in the eighth. He was also hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the second inning, plating OU's first run of the game.

Jimmy Crooks hit his fourth home run of the season, striking the foul pole just beyond the right field wall to give Oklahoma a 2-1 lead in the third inning.

In the sixth, Kendall Pettis laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases after Tanner Tredaway and Diego Muniz walked. Zaragoza then lined a base hit to left field, scoring two runs, and Crooks singled through the right side of the infield to bring in OU’s third run of the inning and extend the lead to 5-1. In the eighth inning, Conor McKenna knocked in two runs with his single through the left side to make it 7-2.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a leadoff home run by left fielder Tyler Bielamowicz and scored an unearned run in the seventh inning when the throw back in from a fly out went awry.

Olds struck out the side in the first inning, then after the solo home run by Bielamowicz in the second, kept the Cougars off the board through the sixth. He struck out two batters in the second and fifth innings, then prevented a one-out triple in the sixth inning from scoring by striking out the next two batters.

Luke Taggart notched three strikeouts to work around a one-out double in the eighth and Jason Ruffcorn struck out three batters in the ninth. OU pitchers totaled double-digit strikeouts for the fifth straight game and eighth time this season (16 Friday night).