By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The feast-or-famine affliction Oklahoma’s developed when it comes to scoring runs was alive and well Tuesday night against Oral Roberts.
This time it was all famine in a 2-0 loss to the Golden Eagles that dropped the Sooners to 23-11 and for the first time had their coach — Pete Hughes — questioning his team’s mindset.
The loss was OU’s fourth straight in midweek games and second to ORU (15-16) in two weeks.
“I didn’t like our energy tonight. The last two Tuesdays I didn’t think that was the deal, but tonight it wasn’t there,” Hughes said.
Perhaps the series with Texas looming on Friday was something the Sooners couldn’t get out of their minds. That series will be between to the two teams tied for first in the Big 12 Conference.
However, the Sooners had one problem — scoring runs. Their pitching staff dominated the game, limiting the Golden Eagles to four hits and allowing seven base runners.
ORU, however, scrapped together two scoring chances and made them count. Logan Domenico doubled in Audie Afenir in the top of third inning. Matt Brandy plated Tyler Boss with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
The doubled the Golden Eagles hit total with eight. They just didn’t do anything with a runner in scoring position.
“It was just coming through in the clutch. We weren’t able to do that tonight,” said OU third baseman Sheldon Neuse, who went 2 for 4.
The bottom of the ninth inning unveiled OU’s issues. ORU closer Jordan Romano was unraveling when he walked OU’s Mac James and Taylor Alspaugh on eight pitches to start the inning.
He fell behind 2-1 on Hector Lorenzana before the Sooner shortstop popped up a bunt for the first out.
That blown chance to get two runners in scoring position with two outs left sucked every bit of life out of the Sooners.
“How many times do you see two leadoff walks get squandered with no runs? That had big inning written all over it,” Hughes said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t execute fundamentally and that happens. But that kid was ready to come unravelled.”
Instead, Romano settled in. Keach Ballard popped out to shortstop for the second out and Craig Aikin struck out swinging.
Pepe Gomez, who dominated the Sooners in ORU’s 3-0 on March 25 in Tulsa did the same on Tuesday. He held on to four hits over five innings to get the win. Romano picked up his seventh save of the season.
Robert Tasin (3-3) took the loss. He gave up two runs on four hits over 31⁄3 innings.
The loss, which was OU fifth in the last 10 games, didn’t come down to pitching.
“You have that killer instinct and smell blood in the air. I didn’t feel that in our dugout and we didn’t execute that way,” Hughes said. “Having someone on the ropes, you have to go after it and exploit that and we didn’t do that.”
Perhaps that will change when the Sooners host the Longhorns at 6 p.m. Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.