NORMAN — By the time Oklahoma got the last out on Friday, Dillon Overton was like everyone else —shivering following a cold afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
During his seven innings on the mound, he was the exact opposite. Overton held Hofstra to one run on two hits over seven innings to lead the Sooners to a 10-4 season-opening victory.
“I thought it would be about Dillon Overton and he came out and pitched well,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said.
The junior left-hander struck out seven and the run he allowed was unearned. The final six innings he pitched were scoreless.
The only serious trouble Overton faced was in the first inning. Errors by shortstop Jack Mayfield and first baseman Kolbey Carpenter allowed Hofstra’s Dalton Rouleau to score the opening run, but that was all Overton allowed. He took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and retired the last five batters he faced.
“I think just because it was so cold, it might have froze up our infielders’ hands a little bit,” Overton said. “After that, they got a feel for the ball. I started getting some quick outs and that helped out a lot.”
Didn’t hurt that OU, which won its 21st straight season opener at home, came through with some clutch hits, starting in the first inning.
OU’s ultimate goal is to score one run an inning all season long. That didn’t come to fruition. What it settled for was three big innings.
Catcher Anthony Hermelyn drilled a bases-loaded, three-run double as part of a four-run first inning. Matt Oberste added a three-run triple in the fourth inning and Carpenter added a two-run double in the seventh.
“We had some big hits. When we got the bases loaded a couple times, we were able to come through more than once,” Hermelyn said. “The whole key is to get some runners on and have some clutch at-bats.”
The Sooners collected 10 hits on the day and had no problem picking up runs against Hofstra’s starting pitcher.
Joseph Burg took the loss for Hofstra. He allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings.
“We’re trying to get ahead of teams and put our foot on them and break them early,” Oberste said.
Hofstra’s final three runs came in the ninth inning and were off OU reliever Ralph Garza. Joe Perez and Matt Reistetter both had RBI singles. Only two of those ninth-inning runs were earned.
In all, OU committed four errors on the day. The miscues were the irritant of the day.
“It’s not good, but we’re young and I’m not gonna be overzealous about how we react to it. I think we’re a good defensive club. We have a lot of talent. We could very easily come out tomorrow and put a zero in that spot. We’re going to pride ourselves on pitching and defense,” Golloway said. “The pitching was pretty good, the defense wasn’t, but the offense was pretty good, too. You have to take two out of three today.”
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