Junior infielder Matt Oberste hit safely in his 28th consecutive game to break the school record, helping the No. 16-ranked University of Oklahoma baseball team beat TCU, 3-1, and win its Big 12 Conference opening series Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Sooners (21-4, 2-0 Big 12) rattled off their ninth straight win and sealed the weekend series victory over the Horned Frogs (9-13, 1-4 Big 12). OU won the series opener Friday, 3-2, in 12 innings.
"It wasn't 12 innings, but it's never easy," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "I think it speaks volumes to our conference, how tough every game is. I think our schedule up to this point has prepared us. We've had a reasonable amount of success, and we've had some failures that we got to learn from. It shows that we were prepared going into conference play."
Oberste sent a one-out single through the right side in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to a school-record 28 straight games dating back to the 2012 season. His streak breaks the previous record of 27 straight games with a hit set by Marty Neff in 1991.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be up there with that kind of group," said Oberste of breaking the school record. "It's unforunate that we can't put the whole team at the top of the list, because they helped just as much as I did."
Oberste has also reached base safely in 32 consecutive games dating back to last season. He leads the OU offense with a .474 batting average, .845 slugging percentage, .539 on-base percentage, 46 hits -- including 19 for extra bases -- 33 RBI and 26 runs scored.
"It's worthy of all of our comments, there's no doubt," said Golloway of Oberste's record-breaking streak. "It's a tremendous feat. At 14 or 15 games, you start thinking about it a little bit. It has become a monster, there's no doubt. I said in the clubhouse (before the game) that Matt would break the record today. I was quick to make sure we secured the baseball for him. He'll always have that. Nobody can take that away from him."
Junior southpaw starting pitcher Dillon Overton fanned four over 5.2 innings of work and earned the pitching victory to improve to 6-1 on the season. Freshman righty Corey Copping tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of Overton before giving way to freshman lefty Jacob Evans, who nailed down his fourth save of the season with 1.2 scoreless frames of work. Evans bailed the Sooners out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning to preserve OU's 3-1 lead. He has not surrendered a run in each of his last nine appearances out of the bullpen.
"It's amazing," said Golloway of Evans. "We keep putting him in tough positions, and all he does is keep coming up big. We've got four starters who are freshmen, then we go to a freshman in Copping, then we close it with a freshman in Evans. I would challenge you to look around the country and tell me another top-25 program that's depending on six freshmen in a crucial conference series."
Oklahoma jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Freshman outfielder Craig Aikin coaxed a one-out walk, then stole second. He scored OU's first run by way of a single back up the middle by senior outfielder/infielder Max White. White stole second, swiped third one out later and then scored on a muffed throw by TCU sophomore infielder Kevin Cron at first base.
The Horned Frogs cut the OU lead to 2-1 in the top of the sixth when redshirt senior infielder Jantzen Witte legged out an infield single to second and later tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by sophomore infielder Derek Odell.
Oklahoma made it a two-run ballgame again in the home half, though, as Oberste hit his record-breaking single with one out, then scored on a single and a fielding error that allowed freshman infielder Kolbey Carpenter to reach second, extending OU's advantage to 3-1.
TCU threatened to turn the tide of the contest in the eighth by loading up the bases with one out, but Evans entered the game and struck out Odell swinging and got sophomore infielder Keaton Jones to fly out to left to extinguish the threat.
Oklahoma eyes its first Big 12 series sweep of the season when its hosts TCU Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised live on FOX Sports Southwest Plus and FOX College Sports.
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