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March 27, 2013

Garza dominates Oral Roberts with 11 strikeouts in first start

TULSA — Ralph Garza Jr. was shagging balls during batting practice late Tuesday afternoon at Oral Roberts’ J.L. Johnson Stadium when he was told he’d better relax. Oklahoma’s coaching staff decided tonight would be the freshman pitcher’s first start.

Whatever Garza did in the time between getting the word and taking the mound ought to be packaged and sold because he threw a dominating complete-game three-hitter in the Sooners’ 3-1 victory over the Golden Eagles.

“It felt unreal out there,” said Garza, who struck out 11 and improved to 3-0 on the season. “I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Good thing it was because it felt real good out there. The defense was making plays and we scored runs. It was a fun game.”

It was about as smooth a nine-inning performance as it could be. Garza threw just 104 pitches and 77 were for strikes. Oral Roberts didn’t have a hit in the final six innings and only left two runners stranded on base.

The victory lifted OU to 23-4 and was their 11th in a row. Tuesday also marked its fourth straight win by two runs or less.

“We’ve experienced wins in almost every way — comeback, holding them off, closing games out,” said OU rightfielder Max White, who was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. “We’ve had a bunch of 3-1 games — low-scoring games — where we’ve held onto the lead the entire game. I think it’s just the poise of this team and the mindset we have. Nothing changes for us throughout a game.”

The Sooners only had eight hits, but were helped by two bases-loaded walks in the fourth inning. White had the Sooners’ only RBI from a batted ball with a double to score Jack Mayfield in the second inning. White and Matt Oberste, who matched the school record by running his hitting streak to 27 games, drew the other bases-loaded walk.

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