Some jitters, less precision than will be exhibited later in the season—see four errors—a few definite teaching points.
But at the end of the day, the Sooners took care of priority No. 1, fighting to a 10-4 opening day victory behind ace Dillon Overton.
“First game, I thought it was going to be about Dillon Overton,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway of his starter who threw seven innings without an earned run. “He comes out and pitches well. And you know what? I knew that we were going to have some rough spots. I mean, there’s three freshmen in the lineup. You know, I want to see what some guys can do.”
OU’s revamped lineup, which includes five new position players, including those three frosh Golloway talked about, managed to produce 10 runs on 10 hits.
They strung together three crooked innings, including a four-run first after falling behind 1-0 early.
A bases loaded walk and bases clearing double by freshman Anthony Hermelyn completed that.
“We got some big hits, got the bases loaded a couple times [and were] able to come through more than once,” Hermelyn said. “So, that’s the key, getting runners on and [putting together good] at bats.”
The Sooners made it 7-1 on another bases clearing hit in the fourth, a triple off the bat of designated hitter Matt Oberste.
But Golloway was quick to point out what set the table for that sequence.
“How about with two outs and a man at second Mayfield takes a borderline breaking ball, 3-2, lays the bat down, goes to first,” Golloway said. “Max comes up, gets hit by a pitch, loads ‘em for Obe [Matt Oberste] and Obe clears the bases. So, you know, those guys have learned it’s about giving it to the next guy. It’s not trying to [do too much].
“So many college guys would have went up there with a man at second, two outs and offered at that pitch that Mayfield took and it would have been 50-50 getting an RBI there but it would have been one run at most. But he showed a lot of discipline and maturity and we’re gonna talk about that and let our young guys learn from it.”
OU added its final three runs in the seventh on first baseman Kolbey Carpenter’s two-run triple and a balk that scored him moments later.
Hofstra capped off the scoring in the ninth with three runs, boosted by OU’s final error.
Overton (1-0), who settled in as the game went on, struck out seven and walked only one, while surrendering only two hits in earning the win.
“I don’t feel great about it, but it wasn’t too bad,” Overton said about his command. “It wasn’t bad for the first outing. I’m happy with it. But we’re just gonna keep getting better as a team, do better things every day.”
Oberste led OU’s offensive production with three RBI and a perfect on base percentage with his pair of walks and triple, and Hermelyn also notched three RBI by virtue on his double.
The Sooners will get back to action with a Saturday doubleheader slated for 1 p.m. first pitch, game two following 30 minutes after.