TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The three-seed Oklahoma baseball team advanced to the Tallahassee Regional championship game with a 4-0 shutout of four-seed Samford on Saturday night at Dick Howser Stadium.
Redshirt sophomore right-hander Nathan Wiles picked up a career-high 10 strikeouts to earn the victory. Wiles (7-3) tossed a career-best 8.2 shutout innings, allowing seven hits and walking two. The redshirt sophomore pounded the strike zone, throwing 31 first-pitch strikes to 35 batters faced in the longest out of the season by an OU starter.
“I thought we executed really well early in the game and as the game started getting longer and longer and longer, it kind of got a little bit out of control, but we re-gathered it and Nathan (Wiles) was outstanding, his performance was beautiful,” OU head coach Skip Johnson said. “He went out and attacked them one pitch at a time, in control of himself and it was a beautiful thing to see.”
Wiles did not allowed a base runner to get to third base until the ninth inning. After Samford picked up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth, junior Austin Hansen preserved the shutout by picking up the final out with a strikeout to earn his ninth save of the season.
After Samford picked up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth, junior Austin Hansen preserved the shutout by picking up the final out with a strikeout to earn his ninth save of the season.
OU picked up three runs in the third and added another in the fifth to move to 2-0 in the Tallahassee Regional, marking just the third time the Sooners have opened a NCAA Regional with two straight wins since 1999.
After Brylie Ware and Brady Lindsly singled to open the frame, Kyle Mendenhall’s three-run home run put OU in front in the top of the third inning. The senior belted his first home run since March 10 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a deep shot over the wall in left.
OU added a run on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Hughes to score Justin Mitchell from third. Making his fifth straight start at designated hitter, Hughes continued to deliver and is 10-for-18 at the plate in that span.
Hughes led the Sooners with a 3-for-4 performance and one RBI. Lindsly and Mitchell each finished 1-for-3 with a run scored. Mendenhall was 1-for-3 and three RBI. Ware and Brandon Zaragoza also added one hit a piece.
Samford right-hander Cody Shelton took the loss, allowing three earned runs on six hits. Shelton (2-4) walked three and struck out one in three innings. Jack Rude pitched six innings in relief, picking up five strikeouts and allowing one run on two hits.
Oklahoma will face the winner of an elimination game between Mississippi State and Samford on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT from Dick Howser Stadium. The game will be streamed live on the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com. ESPNU will have the TV broadcast.