The Sooners (22-6, 5-3 Big 12) defeated Texas Tech 8-5 to complete the three-game sweep, their first during conference play this season.
They had to wait until the final conference series to get their first sweep in Big 12 play last season.
“That’s the goal every weekend; to win all three,” said junior shortstop Caleb Bushyhead, who contributed to the hit parade by going 3-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs in the finale. “This weekend we were able to accomplish that, and that’s the goal every weekend. I expect us to go out – we’re capable of going out – and doing it every weekend. And we just happened to do it this weekend.”
And OU completed the sweep by bringing out the sticks and punishing any pitch that was misplaced in the strike zone.
OU clubbed 16 hits Sunday – increasing the weekend total to 40 hits – to mark the fourth consecutive game it has reached the double-digit hits plateau.
“We found our click right there today,” Bushyhead said. “We came out and played well all three games and we look to carry it on Tuesday when we play the Aggies [Oklahoma State].”
The bulk of the Sooners’ hits came from their first five batters in the order.
All five – junior catcher Tyler Ogle, Bushyhead, junior third baseman Garrett Buechele, junior first baseman Cameron Seitzer and sophomore left fielder Max White – had multi-hit days, and the top three drove in seven of the team’s eight runs.
“It comes back to one simple thing: we’re offering at balls in the zone,” said head coach Sunny Golloway. “We’re not chasing. We’re getting in better hitter’s counts. And that’s what we’ve been emphasizing for two weeks.”
OU’s turnaround at the plate didn’t start with its 23-hit day against St. Gregory’s last Sunday, but rather during the Missouri series in the freezing weather, Golloway said.
“I really felt like we were a club that was starting to come,” Golloway said. “And we had their attention. We were really doing things in a positive manner and moving forward. I think it showed this weekend.”
The Sooners’ good hitting was complemented by the solid start out of junior pitcher Burch Smith.
Smith allowed three runs on four hits during his first Big 12 victory in the Crimson and Cream, but what made him so effective was his presence in the strike zone. He recorded seven strikeouts before a Red Raider batter put the ball in play and ended the day with 12 fans.
But the bullpen turned what seemed like it would be another blowout into a close game.
It allowed Texas Tech to come within one run of tying the game after the Sooners got up 6-0 in the first four innings, but OU’s offense added two insurance runs in the eighth before senior closer Ryan Duke sealed the victory with a perfect ninth.
Duke struck out two batters in the save effort, which was his third of the year.
The Sooners will conclude its five-game homestand Tuesday against in-state rival Oklahoma State in a non-conference affair.
While the game won’t count in the Big 12 standings, it will be a good midweek test for OU and will give both teams a chance to take a live look at their opponent before the games matter in terms of the race for a conference title.
“It’s a little bigger this year now that Oklahoma State and us are both good Big 12 teams,” Ogle said. “This will be kind of battling grounds for our weekend series coming up in the later parts of the season.”
The Sooners haven’t announced a starting pitcher for the game.