Oklahoma took full advantage of a scheduling flop in route to a 6-2 season-opening victory over #17 Long Beach State. The Sooners and Dirt Bags were supposed to mix it up in sunny California this weekend but the weather wasn’t cooperative in the Golden State, resulting in the series being moved to Norman instead.
Sophomore Jake Irvin was spectacular in his season debut. The 6-5/205 righty from Bloomington, Minnesota tied a career-high by fanning ten batters over seven innings of shutout baseball. Long Beach State had registered only one hit when Irvin left the mound at the end of the seventh.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s bats came to life early with the Sooners bringing in their first run of the season off a throwing error that allowed Jack Flansburgh to come home in the bottom of the second. The bottom of the fourth saw Steele Walker, Austin O’Brien and Flansburgh all come in to expand OU’s lead to 4-0.
The Sooners capped their scoring for the evening in the bottom of the sixth when Renae Martinez and Blake Brewster homered in back-to-back at bats. It was the first time Oklahoma had consecutive long balls in a game since 2015 when Sheldon Neuse and Anthony Hermelyn did so.
- Jake Irvin struck out the side in the top of the first inning; marking the second time in 10 career starts he has struck out the first three players of the game.
- Irvin became the third consecutive right-handed pitcher to start on opening day, and the third sophomore to start on the mound in the last four seasons.
- Irvin’s 10 strikeouts were the most by an OU starting pitcher on opening day since Andrew Doyle vs Western Illinois in 2009.
- Brandon Zaragoza became the first freshman to start at shortstop for OU since Bryant Hernandez in 2007.
- Long Beach State is ranked No. 17 by Collegiate Baseball News and No. 20 by Baseball America. The series marks the first time OU has played a ranked opponent on opening day since No. 1 UCLA in 2008.
- The game marked the first of 19 consecutive home games to start the season. It ties for the longest homestand on record; 19 games in 1976.
- Austin O’Brien’s fourth-inning RBI marked the 60th of his career.
- Jack Flansburg tripled and singled in his first two at-bats for his first multi-hit game of the season and 11th of his career. He later added a second single for his second three-hit game at OU.