Junior left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton reminded everyone why he's considered one of the top arms in the country, fanning seven over seven frames while surrendering just two hits to help power the No. 14 University of Oklahoma baseball team to a 10-4 victory over Hofstra in the 2013 season opener Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Sooners (1-0) overcame an early deficit spawned by two errors in the top of the first inning to roar back and defeat the Pride (0-1). OU has now won 23 of its last 24 season openers in Norman, including 21 in a row. The Sooners improved to 6-2 in season openers under head coach Sunny Golloway.
Junior infielder Matt Oberste and freshman infielder Anthony Hermelyn each drove in three runs while senior infielder Garrett Carey and freshman infielder Kolbey Carpenter added two hits apiece.
After committing two errors behind their ace that led to an early lead for Hofstra, the Sooners answered back with poise, plating four runs in the home half of the opening frame. Senior infielder Jack Mayfield got things rolling with a one-out single through the right side. Senior outfielder/infielder Max White followed with a base hit to center, and both team captains advanced 90 feet on an error by the Pride. Oberste filled the bases with Sooners when he was hit by a pitch, setting the stage for freshman outfielder Colt Bickerstaff to drive in the tying run by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Hermelyn did the rest of the damage by smacking a three-RBI double to put OU in control.
Overton, who was named a preseason All-American by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America and was recently selected to the 2013 Preseason Golden Spikes Watch List, was his lights-out self throughout. He retired 19 of the final 23 batters he faced in his season debut to improve his career record to 15-7 at OU.
Oberste broke the game open for Oklahoma in the fourth after junior infielder Hector Lorenzana led off with a single and Mayfield and White followed two outs later by drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch, respectively, to load the bags. That set the table for Oberste to deliver some two-out lightning with a triple to center to make it a 7-1 contest.
After OU's bats added three more insurance scores in the home half of the seventh, freshman right-handed pitcher Ralph Garza, Jr., was summoned from the bullpen to spell Overton, and tossed the final two frames to help the Sooners secure the victory.
Oklahoma is back in action with a Saturday doubleheader against Hofstra at L. Dale Mitchell Park. First pitch of the first contest is slated for 1 p.m. Junior right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray is expected to start game one, with junior southpaw Billy Waltrip making his OU debut on the hill in game two.
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