OU (34-13, 12-9 Big 12) benefitted from five Kansas errors – nine in the series – to claim the 11-4 win Saturday afternoon in a game that went by a similar theme as Friday night’s game.
Kansas (22-26, 9-14 Big 12) jumped out to a two-run lead going into the bottom of the second before opening the door for the Sooners to run away with the game.
The Sooners scored three runs in the second on an RBI single to left by senior left fielder Casey Johnson, a bunt single on a suicide squeeze by senior second baseman Cale Ellis and a sacrifice-bunt by junior right fielder Chris Ellison.
The three runs gave OU a 3-2 lead that it would not come close to relinquishing the rest of the afternoon.
Junior pitcher Burch Smith, who had problems locating in the first two innings, allowed what head coach Sunny Golloway called two “soft runs” before settling down and locating his pitches.
“The first two innings I couldn’t really focus in,” said Smith. “We had two guys down 0-2, and I didn’t quite get it all of the way out for an outside fastball at the plate. So, [pitching coach Mike Bell] just kind of straightened me up.”
The Howard College transfer didn’t get better just because he threw with more confidence but because he pitched with anger after Bell spoke with Smith on the mound in the second, Golloway said.
“I like the way he pitches mad,” he said. “He probably doesn’t need to be mad all of the time, but I saw the [velocity] go from 92 and it jumped to 96. So if that’s mad, then let’s get a little more mad in there and hit 100.”
Smith (8-3, 3.65 ERA) allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits in seven innings and struck out eight on 121 pitches.
The Sooners’ offense continued to pound Kansas pitching and take advantage of errors while Smith held the Jayhawks’ bats at bay.
OU tacked on two in the third, one in the fourth and exploded for five in the sixth to turn an at-time 6-3 game into a rout.
After loading the bases on two walks and an error, junior center fielder Erik Ross slapped a two-run single to left to plate two runs, and both he and Ellison scored on a throwing error by the catcher after successfully pulling off the double steal.
Junior first baseman Cameron Seitzer ended the Sooners’ scoring with an RBI single to right later that inning.
Every Sooner starter had one hit, none had a multi-hit day, and all but two drove in a run in the win.
The series victory is OU’s third during conference play. All three have come at L. Dale Mitchell Park, and the first two were sweeps against Texas Tech and Nebraska.
The Sooners will be going for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday, and senior righty Bobby Shore should be on he mound. He is 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA.
He left his last start early after a forearm/elbow injury and has been plagued with tendinitis issues during the past month, which suggests he might not make the start.
“We don’t really want to let up right now,” said Ross, who went 1-for-3 with three RBIs. “We want to keep cruising and keep taking this momentum into the next series.”
The Jayhawks will be throwing freshman pitcher Alex Cox, who is 3-3 and has a 4.59 ERA. Kansas’ starting pitchers have combined for seven innings in the first two games.