SOONERS DOUSE FLAMES IN REGIONAL OPENER

Friday, 03 June 2022 18:44

SOONERS DOUSE FLAMES IN REGIONAL OPENER

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SOONERS DOUSE FLAMES IN REGIONAL OPENER OU Athletics Communications

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Peyton Graham hit a grand slam and John Spikerman notched four hits and four RBIs as Oklahoma baseball poured on 17 hits to defeat Liberty 16-3 in the opening game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional Friday afternoon at Condron Family Ballpark.
 
The Sooners (38-20) scored 16 unanswered runs after the Flames (37-22) plated three in the top of the first. OU hit back-to-back homers to take the lead in the second inning. Kendall Pettis tied it with a two-run blast to left field (his third of the season) and Spikerman followed with his second homer of the year to make it 4-3.
 
OU added a two-run single by Spikerman in the fourth inning and broke the game wide open with an eight-run fifth inning. Graham's grand slam punctuated the frame and gave OU a 14-3 lead. Jimmy Crooks tacked on two more with a double in the seventh inning to reach the final margin.
 
"When [Kendall Pettis] had the game-tying home run, it settled Jake [Bennett] down," Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson said. "He settled in and was making pitches when he needed to make them. It was a great offensive day for us, we separated balls from strikes most of the day and we got some big hits in some key moments. The bullpen was good coming in and throwing strikes, which was huge. Credit to Liberty, I thought they had a really good club. They can really hit."
 
In the eight-run fifth inning, Jackson Nicklaus hit a two-run single and Squires and Spikerman followed with RBI base hits before Graham hit his third grand slam and 17th home run of the season. Wallace Clark's RBI single in the second inning provided OU's first run of the game.
 
Jake Bennett (8-3) struck out seven batters over 5.2 innings to earn his fourth consecutive victory. After Liberty scored three runs with two outs in the first inning, Bennett rebounded to retire the side in order in the second. He stranded a two-out single in the fourth and turned over the side in order in the fifth.
 
In the third inning, Spikerman scooped a two-out single with two runners on and fired a strike to Crooks at the plate to end the frame. The freshman right fielder went 4 for 5 and was one of a half dozen Sooners with multiple hits in the game.
 
Carson Atwood came in with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and induced a groundout to end the threat, then retired the side in order in the seventh. Aaron Calhoun and Ben Abram closed out the eighth and ninth innings.
 
Liberty's Stephen Hill hit a two-out, two-run double and Logan Mathieu hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning. Starter Dylan Cumming (5-5) took the loss.

The Sooners advance to the winner's bracket game where they will play either Florida or Central Michigan at 6 p.m. CT Saturday.

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