NORMAN, Okla. – Levi Prater allowed one run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings and Oklahoma turned Cal Poly away in the ninth inning as the Sooners completed a three-game sweep of their season-opening series against the Mustangs with a 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Stadium.
Trailing by four in the ninth, Cal Poly scored a run on Blake Wagenseller's RBI single to center field and brought the potential game-tying run to the plate, but Jason Ruffcorn secured the final out on a fly ball to shallow right field for his second save of the series.
Oklahoma opens the year 3-0 while Cal Poly falls to 0-3.
Sophomore right-hander Darren Nelson (0-1) (pictured above) pitched well in defeat, allowing two runs (one earned) and three hits over 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. Four relievers, however, surrendered three runs and five hits in the late innings.
Prater (1-0) struck out five and walked one for the win.
Cal Poly's seven-hit offensive attack included two singles each by Bradlee Beesley and Tate Samuelson. Cole Cabrera added a double. Beesley finished the series with seven hits, including his fifth career four-hit game Saturday.
Seven of Oklahoma's eight hits went for extra bases, including two doubles by Conor McKenna and a triple by Cade Cavalli. Brady Lindsly and Tyler Hardman each added a single and double.
Cal Poly closed a 2-0 deficit to a single run in the seventh as Beesley and Samuelson both singled and Nick DiCarlo's sacrifice fly plated the run.
Oklahoma broke the game open with a three-run eighth-inning rally highlighted by McKenna's two-run double. He was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple on strong throws by right fielder Elijah Green and second baseman Jack Kuzma.
Cal Poly plays another game on the road Tuesday, visiting CSU Bakersfield for a 6 p.m. contest, then opens a four-game home stand with a three-game series against Cal next Friday through Sunday inside Baggett Stadium.
Photo above of Darren Nelson courtesy of Kaylaa Kawasaki | Cal Poly Baseball Student Manager