CNHI News Services
Wishing for a three-run homer often leads to a letdown, but when one finally arrives you get the celebration Oklahoma had after Sunday’s 7-4 victory over Hofstra at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
OU first baseman Matt Oberste belted the three-run long ball to give the Sooners their second walk-off victory in 19 hours and claim a four-game sweep in the season-opening series.
Oberste had four RBIs in the game and nine in the series. The homer was his first of the season, but came when he wasn’t looking for one.
“I was just looking for a pitch in the (strike) zone. He gave me a pitch down the middle and I just tried to hit it the other way,” Oberste said. “I didn’t expect the ball to lift like that. I was just trying to get a base hit like last night.”
It was the junior’s second decisive at-bat in as many games. He delivered the two-run, game-tying, ninth-inning single in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader that OU went on to win 11-10 in 11 innings.
OU never trailed on Sunday. Max White had an RBI single to score Jack Mayfield in the first inning and Oberste brought White home with a sacrifice fly.
They scratched together two more on Hunter Haley’s RBI single in the fourth inning and White added an RBI single in the seventh.
If the game had ended there, OU freshman pitcher Corey Copping would have been the story of the day.
He held Hofstra to one run on two hits and struck out four over seven innings.
“I’m proud of myself,” Copping said. “It was my first game and the environment was great. It was way different than high school, but I was just glad to be able to make a start.”
He was in line for the win until reliever Jake Fisher gave up three runs on three hits and walked another in the eighth inning.
Austin Nyman, who went 2-for-4, ignited the three-run rally with a two-run double. He scored the tying run on a single by Bryan Verbitsky.
Robert Tasin, the Sooners’ closer, pitched a perfect ninth inning and wound up with the victory.
It was fitting OU had the top of its order coming to the plate in the ninth inning. Crain Aikin, Jack Mayfield, Max White and Oberste combined to score six of OU’s runs. Of its nine hits, seven belonged to the quartet — Aikin (1 for 4), Mayfield (2 for 4), White (3 for 4) and Oberste (1 for 4).
“We keep our heads straight and the leadership and experience really pulled us through in this one,” White said.
Mayfield put the ninth-inning in motion with a one-out single, and White worked Hofstra reliever Cody Normand to a full count before drawing a walk.
Oberste took care of the rest.
“The one thing you don’t sit around and wait on is a three-run homer, but I’ll be dog gone if that doesn’t win it today. We’ll take it,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said.
The Sooners get today off before opening a two-game series with Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 3 p.m., Tuesday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.