NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 7/7 Texas baseball team won a seesaw affair over NR/26 Oklahoma, 10-8, in 10 innings Friday night at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
C.J Hinojosa hit a solo home run to lead off the top of the 10th inning, breaking an 8-8 tie to help lift the Longhorns (27-8, 7-3 Big 12) to a series opening win over the Sooners (23-12, 4-3 Big 12). Brooks Marlow's bases-loaded walk gave Texas an insurance run as it improved to 3-0 in extra innings games this season.
John Curtiss came on to pitch the bottom of the 10th and retired three in a row after a leadoff walk to earn his fifth save of the year. Freshman Morgan Cooper (3-1) picked up the win by pitching brilliantly in relief, retiring all nine batters he faced in three scoreless innings.
The Longhorns put up six runs in the first inning, but eventually had to come from behind as Oklahoma tied it up with a six-run third inning and took the lead with two runs in the fifth.
Trailing 8-6 going to the seventh, Texas battled back to tie it. Consecutive leadoff doubles by Ben Johnson and Marlow cut the OU lead to 8-7, and a single to left field by Tres Barrera tied it up. The Longhorns nearly took the lead as Collin Shaw followed with a single and Madison Carter drew a walk to load the bases, but Sooners reliever Drew Krittenbrink got a strikeout to end the threat.
Cooper then entered in relief and shut down Oklahoma, which came into the game second in the Big 12 in hitting, for three straight innings. The win is Texas' fourth this season when trailing after six innings.
After the Longhorns' offensive outburst in the first, it seemed unlikely they would need a comeback. Texas' six spot was its biggest run output in an inning this season, with Kacy Clemens' and Zane Gurwitz's back-to-back two-run doubles keying the rally.
But defensive miscues, combined with five Oklahoma hits in the third inning, allowed the Sooners to tie it up as they batted around in the inning with run-scoring doubles by Sheldon Neuse and Mac James. Three of Texas' four errors came in the third, leading to three unearned runs.
The Sooners went ahead with two runs in the fifth, with Neuse doubling down the left field line and Johnson mishandling it to allow Hunter Haley to score from first. A sacrifice fly from Anthony Hermelyn then brought in Neuse, who had moved up to third on the error.
The Longhorns rallied against a strong Oklahoma bullpen that hadn't allowed a run in 24 1/3 consecutive innings before Johnson drove in the first of two runs in the seventh. Oklahoma reliever Kindle Ladd, who replaced starter Corey Copping in the first, went 5 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on three hits.
That set the stage for Hinojosa to hit his first home run of the season and third of his career in the 10th, lifting Texas to its third straight Friday night conference win.
Texas starter Parker French, who didn't factor into the decision, allowed a career-high eight runs, just three of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings. Oklahoma closer Ralph Garza (4-1) was handed his first loss of the season after allowing the home run to Hinojosa.
Texas and Oklahoma are set to resume the series today at 4 p.m.
(Press Release via University of Texas Athletics)