Defense lifts OU to road baseball win at ORU
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
4/18/12 at 3:02 AM
Max White leaned forward, squinted and anticipated what every outfielder dreams of.
And of course, it happened.
White, Oklahoma's junior center fielder, ran in to make a diving catch of a line drive with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night against Oral Roberts. White's head-first grab ended the inning and killed an ORU rally in the Sooners' 6-3 victory at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
"I kept picturing making a diving catch," White said. "But it was kind of hard to read. I had to make a stutter-step before I came in."
ORU trailed 4-3 at the time and had runners at first and third. The Golden Eagles (17-18) would have at least tied it and might have taken the lead without White's catch. Instead, the Sooners (23-14) won their fifth consecutive game.
Four OU defensive gems saved at least five runs.
"Defense won the ballgame," said OU coach Sunny Golloway, back at ORU for the first time as head coach since he skippered the Golden Eagles from 1996-2003. "You can't get that few hits (five) and win a game without defense."
After his catch, White lay face down on the grass for a few seconds, then bounced up, ran to the dugout and helped OU score twice in the top of the ninth to put the game away.
Just as crippling for ORU was a double play in the fifth inning. OU led 3-1, but after loading the bases with no out, the Golden Eagles had two runners thrown out at home and came away empty.
Cam Schiller hit a rocket back to the mound, and new pitcher Dillon Overton quickly threw home to get Nate Goro for the first out. Catcher Dylan Neal fired to first to get Schiller for the second out.
ORU's next hitter, freshman Jose Trevino, smacked an RBI single to right field to make it 3-2, but Cody Reine threw home to Neal, who tagged Kevin Cho for the final out.
"We made the plays when we had to," White said.
Junior Damien Magnifico started for the Sooners, but was lifted for Overton in the fifth.
When Golloway turned to Overton, a sophomore left-hander, it was to finish the game. Overton (5-1) a star in the Sooners' weekend rotation, went the final five innings and allowed just four hits and one run with seven strikeouts.
ORU pitchers were perfect in six of their first seven innings. The Golden Eagles still had a shot going into the eighth because coach Rob Walton saved weekend aces Alex Gonzalez and Kurt Giller for spot duty in the final innings.
"It played out exactly how we needed it to play out," Walton said, "but we didn't get it done."
Gonzalez gave up a single, a bunt and a sacrifice fly, and Giller left two pitches up in the strike zone and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk.
OU 6, ORU 3
Magnifico, Overton (5) and Neal, Toal; Spring, Wilson (4), Martony (5), Torrence (6), Liguori (7), Gonzalez (8), Giller (9) and Pickar. W: Overton (5-1). L: Gonzalez (3-3).
OU up next
Vs. Alabama State
ORU up next
Vs. W. Illinois
Original Print Headline: Defense lifts OU to road win at ORU
John E. Hoover 918-581-8384
OU's Damien Magnifico is congratulated by teammates after another inning pitching against ORU on Tuesday in Tulsa. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World