NORMAN — What Oklahoma lacked during its weekend road trip to California was apparent Tuesday night at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Timely hitting makes a discernible difference.
The Sooners had it in their 8-0 victory over New Mexico State.
“Timely hitting was something we’ve talked a lot about,” OU third baseman Garrett Carey said. “We got back to it and we came out on top.”
The Sooners (13-4) had dropped three of its previous four games and struggled to get runners in scoring position or do anything when they got there in losses to Texas-Arlington, USC and Notre Dame.
OU didn’t have that problem Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series with the Aggies and the first in a 10-game homestead.
Carey went 2 for 5 with three RBIs, and Matt Oberste extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a 3-for-3 effort.
Carey delivered the pivotal strike in the four-run sixth inning to blow the game open. He laced a two-out, two-run double to score Max White and Oberste that gave OU a four-run lead.
It was the kind of hit the Sooners lacked last week.
“In today’s day and age, you’re not always going to get to go to the plate with runners in scoring position with no outs or one out,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “You have to be able to have clutch hitting with two outs. We didn’t have it all weekend. Tonight, we did a good job of that.”
Ralph Garza Jr., (2-0) secured the victory. The left-hander entered in the third inning and threw 41⁄3 shutout innings. He struck out five and limited New Mexico State to five hits.
The Sooners used four pitchers. Drew Krittenbrink exited after 21⁄3 innings. He only gave up one hit, but he did walk four.
Control was an issue for every pitcher who took the mound. The Sooners walked nine and the Aggies issued six free passes. The bigger issue was the 10 hit batters. Garza plunked three.
Casey Collins (1-2) took the loss. He allowed four runs on five hits over 51⁄3 innings. He also drilled four.
The teams return to L. Dale Mitchell Park at 6:30 p.m. today for the finale of the two-game series.
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