NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Pete Hughes wants his team to play loose. What he got Friday afternoon in the season opener was anything but that. The Sooners played stiffer than a brand new mitt in a 7-5 loss to Seton Hall. The loss marked the first time OU has dropped its home opener since L. Dale Mitchell Park opened in 1982.
“It’s disappointing, and I know our guys are disappointed,” Hughes said. “We really cultivate a relaxed atmosphere in everything we do. Game day is their pay day and I want them to play loose and have fun and play fast. I don’t think we did that today.”
It was that way throughout OU’s lineup and on the mound. The Sooners only had six hits and were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
OU players were not made available to reporters following the game.
Sophomore Jacob Evans, who took the loss, struggled. The left-hander, who went 7-2 with nine saves as a freshman, gave up eight hits, hit three batters and walked another. He lasted 5 1/3 innings but seemed to be in a hole all afternoon. He struck out four, but faced 26 batters and did not have an inning where the Pirates did not put a runner on base.
Seton Hall didn’t have that problem. It never trailed and picked up timely hits throughout. Catcher Dillon Hamlin went 4 for 5 and put the Pirates up for good with a solo home run in the fifth inning. Second baseman Mike Caputo went 4 for 5 as well and drove in two runs.
Not bad for a school whose West Orange, N.J., campus is currently engulfed by over a foot of snow.
Evans’ problems kicked into high gear in the top of the second inning. He hit Sal Annunziata and Kyle Grimm to start the frame and was staring at bases-loaded, no-out jam after Hamlin’s bunt single.