The Central Connecticut baseball team dropped the series-opener at 18th-ranked Oklahoma, 3-0, on Friday night at L. Dale Mitchell Park. A trio of runs by the Sooners in the middle innings proved to the be the difference in a game controlled by the pitchers.
Central slips to 4-2 overall on the season following the loss, while the Sooners won their ninth straight to improve to 10-1.
CCSU starter senior Brendan Smith was strong in the early-going, not allowing an OU baserunner through the first three innings. The Sooners managed to break the deadlock in the fourth after Kyle Mendenhall reached on a one-out single and moved to third on a single by Steele Walker. Austin O'Brien singled up the middle to bring home a run to make it 1-0 before CCSU could get out of the inning.
OU added to its lead with two runs in the fifth. Brylie Ware led off with a bloop double and moved to third on a single by Renae Martinez. A balk would score Ware to make it 2-0 and the Sooners would eventually load the bases with no outs. Kyler Murray would drive in a run on a hard-hit single to the right side to make it 3-0.
CCSU would threaten with its best scoring opportunity in the ninth after junior Dean Lockery walked and junior Dylan Maher singled. A walk to freshman Buddy Dewaine would load the bases with two outs, but JB Olson would get a strikeout to shutdown the Blue Devils and get the save.
Central would get singles from senior Tyler Coleman in the first and Dewaine in the second before OU starter Jake Irvin was able to settle in. He would retire nine straight at one point, including five via strikeout, and earned the win after six innings of scoreless work. He recorded 14 strikeouts and walked one, while allowing just two hits. Olson gave up a hit and walked two in the ninth, but got a strikeout to end the game and earn his second save.
Smith started and was saddled with the loss for Central. He worked 6.0 innings and scattered nine hits and allowed three runs. Smith struck out five, while walking one. Junior Nick Plachno threw 2.0 perfect innings in relief and recorded three strikeouts.
Ware and Martinez each had two hits and a run scored for the Sooners at the plate.
The series continues on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. The games will be available via live stats, audio streak and a pay video stream. Links can be found here.