After a stint of eight straight road games, Oklahoma finally came home to L. Dale Mitchell Park to host the Kansas Jayhawks. During their time away from Norman, the Sooners struggled. Unable to find a way to win on the road, they lost seven of their eight contests. Here’s how the series played out between the Sooners and the Jayhawks.
In Jake Irvin’s return to the mound Friday night, the scoring started early and often for both teams. By the end of the fourth inning, 14 runs would cross home plate. As for Irvin, he threw 3.1 innings and gave up four runs on five hits, and four walks. While the stat line isn’t great, it is good news that that he returned to the ball park for game two on Saturday. Even after 81 pitches, Irvin said his “arm felt good” the following morning. After Irvin was done for the day, six Sooner pitchers would come in to the high scoring game, including one inning pitched by both Nathan Wiles and Austin Hansen. Austin Kerns would end up taking the loss for the Sooners dropping his record to 2-3 on the year.
The starting Jayhawk pitcher Taylor Turski would be in the same boat as Irvin, as he too would be bumped after 3.1 innings, and gave up five earned runs. The Kansas bullpen got involved after that, trotting out six different pitchers of their own. Chase Kaplan picked up the win for the Jayhawks. For the Sooners, an early lead of 4-0 looked promising, but the Jayhawks responded with four runs to tie it up in the fourth inning. The scoring wouldn’t stop there, as Oklahoma responded with six additional runs in their half of the inning.
Going into the fifth inning with a 10-4 lead, Oklahoma looked like they would finally be able to get out of their midseason slump, however that is not how the Jayhawks would have it. Kansas scored ELEVEN unanswered runs over the final four innings to win 15-10. Oklahoma’s streak of four consecutive error-less games would come to an end as the losing streak would continue.
Kansas 15 | 16 | 3
Oklahoma 10 | 12 | 3
— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) April 22, 2017
Unlike the opening game of the series, this game featured a pitching duel for the first six innings, as neither Oklahoma or Kansas could plate a run.
Oklahoma pitcher Kyle Tyler gave Oklahoma its first quality start in recent memory as he pitched into the sixth inning. Tyler threw well over the first five innings not allowing a run. However, things turned in the sixth, as he gave up four runs and was chased from the game, and JB Olson came in from the bullpen to stop the bleeding. Austin Kerns and Nathan Wiles came on to pitch for Oklahoma as well, each making their second appearance in as many days.
Kansas’ sixth inning, fueled by a couple of walks and a string of base hits, would prove to be enough to give Tyler the loss for the game, as four Jayhawks touched home. Oklahoma rallied and got two runs in their half of the sixth, but that was all Jayhawks pitcher, Jackson Goddard, would give to the Sooners.
Goddard started the game on the hill for Kansas and gave an outstanding performance pitching for seven innings. He only surrendered two runs late in the ball game, earning him the win for Kansas. The 5-2 loss for Oklahoma brought the losing streak to seven games.
Scoring started early for Kansas, as they would plate two runs against Oklahoma starter Dylan Grove. Grove left the game in the first without recording an out, leaving the bases loaded and a two run deficit for reliever Devon Perez. Perez gave up two more runs (which were charged to Grove) in the inning, but the damage could have been much worse.
Oklahoma responded over the next three innings as they scored five runs off of Kansas starter Ryan Zeferjahn. Kansas turned to the bullpen in the third inning, and eight Jayhawks saw time on the mound over the course of the game. Oklahoma’s Devon Perez ate up five innings on the mound, only giving up two additional runs. Sooner pitchers Vincenzo Aiello and JB Olson picked up where Perez left off, as they both pitched two innings, giving up no runs. Olson got the win for the Sooners.
Going in to the bottom of the eighth down 6-5, Oklahoma started a rally on a Brandon Zaragoza walk. Oklahoma scored two runs in the inning, and that would prove to be enough as they went on to win 7-6. The Sooners avoided a second straight sweep, and finally got out of the loss column.
One for the Road
Oklahoma now sits in the middle of the pack at 6-6 in Big 12 play. The Sooners (28-15) will play another home game Tuesday, against Texas-Arlington, before hitting the road again to play West Virginia (23-15) in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are currently tied for second place in the conference with a mark of 9-6. However, West Virginia is coming off their first conference series loss, as they dropped two of three to Kansas State this past weekend.