Longball Looms Large in Loss
NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma baseball team lost to Kennesaw State, 9-4, in its series finale at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners, who clinched the series win on Saturday, dropped to 14-8, while the Owls improved to 9-12.
Kennesaw State scored six of its runs on home runs beginning with a leadoff-jack in the second by catcher Griffin Helms. Left fielder LaDonis Bryant added a two-run homer in the second and third baseman Tyler Simon blasted a three-run shot in the fourth after a two-out error extended the Owls’ inning.
KSU right-hander Jake Rothwell (1-1) held OU to one run, scattering eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts. RHP Jake McLinskey entered for the seventh and pitched the rest of the way to earn a three-inning save as he gave up three runs on five hits. Four Owls hitters recorded multi-hit games, including Simon, who went 2-for-5. Helms was 2-for-4 and scored three times.
Trailing 9-0, the Sooners put a single run on the board in the sixth through eighth innings. Junior right fielder Steele Walker (Prosper, Texas) led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and scored on a double into the left field corner by redshirt-sophomore Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas).
Freshman first baseman Tyler Hardman (Corona, Calif.) led off the seventh with a double and scored on an infield-single to third by sophomore shortstop Brandon Zaragoza (Moore, Okla.). In the eighth, sophomore catcher Brady Lindsly (Keller, Texas) hit a leadoff-double and scored from third on a RBI-groundout from junior third baseman Brylie Ware (Sedgwick, Kan.).
Zaragoza singled and Walker doubled to start the Sooners’ scoring threat in the ninth. With the bases loaded, Lindsly hammered a ball to deep center, but it was caught, limiting OU to a run on a sacrifice-fly to put the game at its final score. Zaragoza was 3-for-5 on the day with three infield-singles. Four other Sooners had two-hit games, including Walker, who was 2-for-4 with his team-leading 10th multi-hit game of the year.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Cade Cavalli (Bixby, Okla.) went 3.2 innings in his second career start. Cavalli (2-1) gave up six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks.
Oklahoma is on the road Tuesday, March 20 against Wichita State at 6 p.m. Sophomore right-hander Nathan Wiles (Overland Park, Kan.) gets the start on the mound.