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Sooners sweep UAPB

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners moved to 4-1 on the young season with an 11-0 shutout victory over the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions Wednesday afternoon, sweeping a two-game midweek set.

And much like they have recently in the early stages of the 2014 campaign, they used the long ball to propel an offensive onslaught.

Shortstop Sheldon Neuse did the honors this time, blasting a three-run shot in the bottom of the first.

Third baseman Kolbey Carpenter’s RBI single to center and an RBI fielder’s choice off left fielder Hunter Haley’s bat ran the count to 5-0 through two innings.

Catcher Mac James made it 6-0 on a third-inning RBI double into the left field corner.

First baseman Niko Buentello joined Neuse in the round trip ranks with a two-run blast off the scoreboard in the fifth, which upped OU’s lead to 8-0.

"I like the way we swung the bats," said OU head coach Pete Hughes. "It gets infectious, I do know, on both ends, you know, positively and negatively. But our guys still had to do it, and they still had to do it with two strikes and two outs and clutch RBI's. And we saw a lot of that stuff, and it was spread one through nine, too, which makes me happy."

James picked up his second and third RBI with another run-scoring double into the left field corner in the fifth, putting OU up 10-0.

An errant throw by UAPB second baseman Mitch Bruckshaw allowed OU to plate another and put together a five-run fifth.

It wouldn’t score again, but it wouldn’t matter, as OU finished off its season-opening five-game home stand with four victories.

Corey Copping, on a pitch count coming off last year’s injury, recorded the win while tossing four innings of scoreless ball with four hits and no walks. He struck out a pair of the 16 batters he faced.

"It felt really good today," Copping said. "I'm still a [work in] progress. I'm getting there."

Relievers Kindle Ladd, Kyle Hayes, Jeffrey Curran, Drew Krittenbrink, Ralph Garza and Neuse all combined to preserve the shutout, limiting the Golden Lions to only two hits over the final five frames and no free passes throughout.

"No walks, yeah, awesome," Hughes said. "That was our goal going in. We wanted to use a lot of pitchers, our key bullpen guys. We wanted to get Jeff Curran in that situation versus a left hander, we wanted to get Sheldon Neuse on the mound for the first time, and we wanted to play clean baseball.

"I didn't feel great about that win yesterday. You know, you never apologize for winning, but I want to win clean and if we want to go to Omaha and play great in our conference, which is one of the best conferences in the [country], we got to play clean baseball. You got to limit the extra base runners. You got to cut down your walks, cut down your errors."

The Sooners get back to action with an 11 a.m. CT Friday contest against The Citadel in the UCF Tournament.

They’ll face UCF and Ohio State Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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NORMAN, Okla. — Left fielder Hunter Haley drilled a pair of homers and the Sooners ran their winning streak to three games with a 16-6 Tuesday afternoon victory over the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Haley belted out a two-run shot in the first and a three-run shot in the fourth, all part of his six-RBI performance that helped put together the Sooners’ first back-to-back 15-run, 20-hit games since 2011.

As part of that, first baseman Niko Buentello, catcher Anthony Hermelyn and third baseman Keach Ballard all also mounted multi-RBI games, each finishing with two apiece.

Meanwhile, OU didn’t quite the starting performance on the mound it wanted to, with Connor Buchmann lasting just 3 2/3 innings while giving up six runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks. He struck out three.

The bullpen, however, stymied any kind of rally for the Golden Lions, blanketing them through the final 5 1/3 innings of the contest as the Sooners continued to pour on the offense.

Robert Tasin, who struck out one and didn’t allow a base runner in 1 1/3 innings, picked up the win.

“[Our pitching] was exactly how we designed it,” said OU head coach Pete Hughes. “We wanted to get those young guys on the mound so we could build depth and build confidence in our bullpen. There are some talented young arms in there. We’ve just got to get them out there and get them ready. I would like for our freshmen to be accomplished products before we get in to league play, easier said than done.”

OU wraps up the two game set against UAPB Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT.

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