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Sooners take opening series

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners did it the hard way opening weekend, claiming the final two games to win their first series, including a 15-6 decision Sunday afternoon against the Seton Hall Pirates in the rubber match.

Third baseman Sheldon Neuse's grounder to second resulted in an error and two runs, though the Sooners lost 7-5.

"They played to win the last two days," said OU head coach Pete Hughes. "Just look at how we ran the bases, guys going first to third, forcing the pressure on their defense. That's playing to win. That's not being tentative. And it was completely two different ball clubs, the one we coached on Friday and the one we coached yesterday and today."

In the contest, they belted out 18 hits and put together five crooked innings, including four each in the first and sixth innnings, three in the fourth and a pair in the fifth and eighth.

The big shot came in the fourth when left fielder Hunter Haley, who earlier in the game made an ESPN-esque catch over the bullpen fence down the left field line, used a firm south wind to push one just over the left field fence for a three-run homer.

"Yeah, I was [surprised it went out]," Haley said. "I mean, happy it did, but that's the perk of playing here on Sundays, get a good wind going out."

Joining Haley (2-for-4 with three RBI) with multi-RBI games were right fielder Taylor Alspaugh (three), third baseman Kolbey Carpenter (two) and catcher Mac James (two).

OU led it 4-0 after the first inning, as it batted around and used RBI hits from designated hitter Niko Buentello, second baseman Hector Lorenzana and catcher Mac James to do so.

It led 9-1 after five before Seton Hall put up a four-spot; however, OU responded with a four-spot of its own in the bottom half to go back up 13-5.

True freshman Jake Elliott picked up his first career win in the victory, tossing five-plus innings with three strikeouts to four walks and two earned runs, three total.

"I thought he was really good, composure," Hughes said. "The first thing I look at is composure and approach. That kid was locked in, ready to go. It was just like another start for him, 60 feet, six inches. I thought he threw a lot of strikes. I thought he handled adversity well in a tight zone."

Luke Cahill, who was tagged for six earned runs on seven hits and two walks, suffered the loss for the Pirates.

The Sooners (2-1) return to action with a 3 p.m. CT Tuesday contest against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

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NORMAN, Okla. — Pete Hughes got his first win as OU head coach and the Sooners evened their record at 1-1 on the young season, beating Seton Hall 8-2 in front of 1,302 fans at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Six-foot-8 left-hander Adam Choplick got the win, going six innings, allowing four hits and giving up one run, one earned run, walking one and striking out five.

Freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse provided the big blows with a three-run home run and a triple. Junior right fielder Taylor Alspaugh laid down a perfect one out bunt before Neuse's HR and made a spectacular diving catch in right.

Sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn batted cleanup for the first time in his career and didn't disappoint, smoking his first home run on the year.

"I like the way that Hermi puts the ball in play and in college ball you don't always have power in your four hole, but in Anthony we get the best of both worlds," Hughes said. "It is early in the season, but it is clear that Anthony is one of our better players and better hitters, and I want to put him in situations that he can really make a difference for us."

Before the season Hughes was worried about the power on the squad, but the two homers provided some excitement for the Sooner offense.

"Both of those guys really squared the ball and put a good stroke on it and that was good to see," Hughes said. "You know, I think we have a little more power than I thought we were going to have, but still the offensive play that I like best was the bunt by Alspaugh that kept an inning going and allowed Sheldon to come up and come up with the big hit.

"I like guys that make hustle plays, because they become winning plays. Alspaugh's diving catch in right field saved us a run and today we made the plays we were supposed to, threw strikes on the mound and it was great to get that first win under our belts."

Hughes will roll out lanky RHP Jake Ellliott (6'7) of Coppell, Texas Sunday as the Sooners go for the series win with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.

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NORMAN, Okla. — Well, the Sooners aren’t off to the start they were hoping for.

Seton Hall took their season opener from them in 7-5 fashion Friday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

"Disappointing, I know our guys are disappointed," said OU head coach Pete Hughes. "We really cultivate a relaxed atmosphere. That's in everything we do. I want these guys to come out, and on game day—it's their payday—and play loose and have fun and play fast, and I don't think we did that today."

It drops the Sooners to 35-18 in season openers since 1962 and serves as only their second home opener loss in that time period (23-2) and first ever at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Second baseman Hector Lorenzana got the Sooners on the board in the bottom of the fourth with his sacrifice fly.

That cut the Pirates’ lead to 4-1 at the time before they broke through again in the fifth.

They did so on center fielder Craig Aikin’s little dribbler down the third base line that was mishandled by Seton Hall third baseman Kyle Grimm, allowing designated hitter Kolbey Carpenter to race home and score.

Two batters later, the Pirates booted another ball on a 1-2 pitch off the bat of third baseman Sheldon Neuse, and the Sooners scored a pair of runs to tie the game at four apiece.

The Pirates, though, quickly regained the next inning when catcher Dillon Hamblin flew a home run that carried into the jet stream just over the right field wall.

"I credit Seton Hall," Hughes said. "They played tougher than we did today, and hopefully that'll change tomorrow. But when you get a bunch of two-out RBIs, [that's the difference]. Kids are scrappy and mentally tough, so credit them."

Seton Hall added two more in the seventh via a sacrifice fly and Grimm’s RBI single.

OU cut it to 7-5 with yet another of the Pirates’ four errors, but could get no closer.

Seton Hall took the early lead in the top of the second on a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and second baseman Mike Caputo’s RBI single down the left field line.

The beneficiary of a two-out error by shortstop Joshua Ake, Seton Hall tacked on two more in the fourth, as Caputo tripled home a run, then scored on left fielder Derek Jenkins’ RBI single to center.

The two get back to action with game two of the series at 2 p.m. CT Saturday.

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