The No. 2 Sooners defeated the No. 14 California Golden Bears 5-3 on Saturday to improve to 13-0 to start the year, which is something that no other team in OU baseball history has ever done.
The game was a mix of good starting pitching, good work out of the bullpen and timely hitting to earn the record.
The Sooners got on the board in the first inning when sophomore left fielder Max White led off the game with a double and was moved over to third on a throwing error by the pitcher before junior center fielder Erik Ross laid down a good bunt to first to score the run.
The lead didn’t last long, though.
Junior pitcher Burch Smith gave up two runs in the bottom half of the first inning to give OU its first deficit while in San Diego. But the poor opening inning was the only bad one for Smith in the game.
Smith threw six consecutive shutout innings, which allowed the Sooner bats to do their work in the middle innings.
Junior third baseman Garrett Buechele brought in two runs on a single up the middle in the third inning to regain the lead, and OU tacked on a run in the sixth and seventh innings respectively to build up a 5-2 advantage going into the eighth.
Smith got into a little trouble in the eighth. He retired one batter before allowing an RBI-double.
Head coach Sunny Golloway lifted the power-righty and brought in sophomore Jack Mayfield, who was playing second base, to close out the inning.
But Mayfield got into a little jam of his own. He got the first batter out but threw eight straight balls to the next two batters to load the bases and put the tying run on second.
The utility man didn’t let the big situation bother him, though, as he left the bases loaded by striking out California’s nine-hole hitter, Darrel Matthews, to end the inning.
Mayfield allowed one runner to reach base in the ninth, but other than that the Golden Bears went down quietly to seal OU’s record-setting victory.
Smith’s 7 1/3 innings of eight-hit ball was good enough to earn his second win as a Sooner, and Mayfield earned his third career save.
The Sooners will try to expand their record start at noon CT Sunday against San Diego State. OU defeated the Aztecs 4-0 in the weekend opener.
Freshman pitcher Dillon Overton is scheduled to make the start in the tournament finale. He had a strong outing in relief in Tuesday’s victory against the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks.