Of course, Neuse’s debut on the mound wasn’t exactly a pressure situation.
The Sooners quickly built a six-run lead after three innings. After Neuse’s homer — his second of the season — the Sooners tacked on two more runs in the second inning and Mac James added an RBI double in the third.
The Sooners (4-1) had 10 hits with three going for extra bases. James had doubles and Niko Buentello added a two-run homer — the first of the freshman’s career — as part of a five-run inning.
Sophomore right-hander Corey Copping picked up the win in a four-inning effort. Copping was held to a 60-pitch limit, finished at 63, and allowed just four hits and struck out two.
Jim Ploeger took the loss for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He gave up six runs on six hits.
OU used seven pitchers Wednesday. The Sooners head to Orlando, Fla., where they will open play against the Citadel as part of a round-robin tournament in which they’ll also meet Central Florida on Saturday and Ohio State on Sunday.
The Sooners committed two errors, but the shutout was the first of the season and marked the first time in five games OU has not issued a walk.
“That was our goal going in, a lot of pitchers, our key bullpen guys,” Hughes said. “We wanted to get Sheldon Neuse on the mound for the first time. We wanted to play clean baseball.”
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