OU Athletics Communications Press Release
Written by Eric Hollier
NORMAN – Jake Bennett pitched six shutout innings and the Sooners pounded out 20 hits as the Oklahoma baseball team clinched the series with a 19-1 win over Houston Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Brandon Zaragoza went 4 for 5 with four RBIs, notching his 200th career hit in the process. Conor McKenna and Breydon Daniel also drove in four runs for the Sooners (11-7), which set season highs in both runs and hits. Of Oklahoma’s 20 hits in the game, 12 went for extra bases, including nine doubles.
OU scored four runs in the third inning, five runs in the fourth and six runs in the fifth inning to take a 16-0 lead, then added three more in the seventh on true freshman Jace Bohrofen’s first career home run.
Bennett (3-1), a second-year freshman, allowed just two hits and no walks while striking out six batters in the longest outing of his career. Christian Ruebeck, Carson Atwood and Braxton Webb followed Bennett in relief, and Webb struck out two batters in the ninth inning to close out the game. It was the sixth straight game in which OU pitchers notched at least 10 strikeouts (10 Saturday).
“I really thought Jake Bennett set the tone,” Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. “When we score early for him, he gets more comfortable as he goes through the game. I thought our guys really started playing offense the rest of the day instead of giving up at bats, hitting pitches that they can hit and staying in the strike zone. Jake kept pounding the strike zone and the guys that came out of the bullpen did the same thing. I was really proud of Christian, Atwood and Webb.”
Oklahoma produced its first run by going station to station. Kendall Pettis led off the second inning with a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly by Daniel. OU’s first run of the third inning was also a sacrifice fly, off the bat of McKenna, but it was the last time the Sooners needed to manufacture offense on Saturday.
Tanner Tredaway followed with an RBI double down the left field line, and Zaragoza drove his first two-run double into the left center gap. He hit another two-run double to the same location in the fourth inning. Peyton Graham led off the fourth with his third homer of the season, bouncing it off the scoreboard structure in left center field. McKenna grounded home a run and Pettis singled in another, leading to Zaragoza’s second double that made the score 10-0.
Oklahoma sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the fifth inning. McKenna doubled down the left field line to score two runs, Tredaway lined a sacrifice fly to center and Daniel cleared the bases with a three-run triple off the wall in left center field bringing the score to 16-0.
The Cougars (10-8) scored an unearned run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Brad Burckel that made the score 19-1. Starter Cameron Prayer (0-2) went 3.1 innings in the loss.
Jimmy Crooks (three runs scored) and Tyler Hardman (two runs scored) each went 3 for 4, and Pettis singled, walked, was hit by a pitch twice, and scored four runs in the game.
The Sooners have now scored at least four runs in a single inning 12 times in the last 12 games, and at least three runs in a frame 18 times in the last 12 contests.
Oklahoma and Houston conclude the series at noon Sunday. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Oklahoma Plus.