Sooners Drop Season-Opening Series to Waves
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SoonersIllustrated.com Publisher
Posted Feb 17, 2012
Joey Helmer


The Sooners jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the rubber match but couldn't hold onto it and fell 7-6, losing the opening series against the Pepperdine Waves.

After hitting two batters and walking another en route to giving up three runs in the top of the first, Pepperdine stormed back with one in the bottom half and three in the bottom of the third, boosted by a pair of home runs by designated hitter Matt Forgatch and left fielder Bryan Langlois.

That put Pepperdine up 4-3 at the time.

The Waves, who chased the Sooner starter, this time Steven Okert, in less than 4 1/3 innings for the third straight game, extended that advantage when they scored three more in the bottom of the fifth.

OU battled back to tie it with two runs in the top of the sixth and one in the top of the seventh.

First, catcher Hunter Lockwood hit a sacrifice fly and then third baseman Garrett Carey ripped an RBI single to make it 6-5.

Lockwood's second sac fly made it 6-6.

But Pepperdine second baseman Joe Sever beat out a bases-loaded, infield single off Sooner pitcher Jordan John to reclaim the lead in the ensuing half inning.

After the Sooners couldn't score in the top of the eighth and recorded three outs in the bottom half, they didn't get another chance to hit because of the time limit and that's where it ended.

“We didn’t swing the bats very well this weekend and didn’t get the starting pitching we needed from all three of our guys,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “We have a lot of work to do.”

OU will get back to work next weekend with its home opener slated for 3 p.m. Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

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The Pepperdine Waves jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning and continued to pour it on the Sooners, winning game two decisively 10-0 en route to forcing a rubber match game Sunday.

Three of Pepperdine's first four hitters recorded at least a pair of hits, and second baseman Joe Sever even finished with three hits, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Center fielder Matt Gelalich, shortstop Zach Vincej and left fielder Tony Cooper combined for five hits, four runs and a pair of RBI in the rout.

Meanwhile, Waves pitcher Scott Frazier fanned six in tossing seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just five hits.

"We got out-pitched today," said head coach Sunny Golloway. "He pitched outstanding. He is rated as one of the top sophomores in the country and he proved it today."

The Sooner starter was chased in less than 4 1/3 innings for the second consecutive contest, as Jonathan Gray lasted just 2 2/3, giving up just an earned run but walking six.

Four other Sooner pitchers, including Ty Taylor, Jacob Rhame, Jake Fisher and Kindle Ladd, collectively gave up nine more earned runs on 12 hits.

After getting up 4-0, Pepperdine added three more runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and two in the bottom of the eighth to cap off the scoring.

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The Sooners did it 18 times a year ago and did it again in their first game of 2012, rallying for a 4-3 victory over the Pepperdine Waves.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning, freshman catcher Hunter Lockwood and sophomore designated hitter Matt Oberste, both newcomers, collected consecutive RBI singles to notch things up.

That came after OU spoiled an opportunity to perhaps get more.

Nonetheless, it tied things up.

“I thought we did a great job fighting back,” Golloway said. “If you think about [it], the key to the game for me is we’re down two nothing, we get guys first and second, we’re gonna bunt them up and we botched the bunt and they roll a double play. A lot of teams are gonna go flat right there, but we come back with back-to-back doubles and tie the ball game anyway. And I thought that was a big key.

“You know, even though they were able to roll the double play on us, we were still able to show some fire power there and do what we needed to do to get back in it early.”

Later, first baseman Max White gave OU its first lead of the season at 3-2 in the top of the fifth when he brought home the go-ahead run on an RBI groundout.

But the Waves chased Sooner starting pitcher Dillon Overton in the bottom half after he worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits, striking out five and walking three.

That set the stage for middle reliever Jordan John to come in and shut the door.

John did just that, tossing 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball and allowing just a pair of hits and fanning two while facing 11 batters en route to getting the victory.

“Well, that’s why we got him sitting next to us,” Golloway said. “You know, we want him to be in the ball game when it’s really on the line. We talk to him about not being a selfish guy and being selfless and he is that kind of player. You know, he doesn’t care if he’s a starting guy. Today he was the winning pitcher coming off the bench, and you knew he was going to be in there when the game was on the line, so I thought he did a terrific job just neutralizing their bats.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound lefty, who Golloway labeled as the “bridge to the gap” guy before the season, definitely dealt in a rhythm all day.

“You know, when you have a great defense behind you working hard, they’re able to make plays and that gives me the confidence I need to just put the ball in around the zone and let the Pepperdine hitters get themselves out,” John said. “And they did a good job helping me be relaxed and comfortable, and so that wasn’t pretty much the key for today.”

The pair of highly touted newcomers, Lockwood and Oberste, each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, while another newcomer, third baseman Garrett Carey, also recorded an RBI along with White.

Flame-throwing closer Damien Magnifico got his first save in the first outing of the year, working a scoreless bottom of the ninth although he let a pair of base runners reach aboard on a hit and a walk.

“And that’s the thing with Damien, people got to understand when you’re throwing the baseball that hard, it’s very easy sometimes to ball a strike,” Golloway said. “It really is. It happens so quick, you know. It’s gotta be tough to call it back there and so, you know what, he’s got to understand he’s got to take the good with the bad. If he can get a hit and make them offer at it, that’s where he’s going to be at his best.

“And we’re going to talk to him about that, about getting ahead and not even letting an umpire being involved in it, making it a situation where they’ve gotta swing because he’s ahead in the count and it’s too close to take.”

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.



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