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February 16, 2014

First win of Hughes’ era

NORMAN — After a cool start to the baseball season, Oklahoma heated up Saturday. The Sooners scored five runs in the seventh inning and rolled to an 8-2 victory over Seton Hall at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

The victory evened the three-game season-opening series ahead of today’s 1 p.m. rubber game. OU hopes the finale will have conditions similar to Saturday.

Aided by a blustery wind blowing out to center field the Sooners banged out nine hits, including back-to-back home runs from freshman third baseman Sheldon Neuse and sophomore catcher Anthony Hermelyn. Neuse’s blast was a three-run shot and the first of his career. Hermelyn’s homer was also his first round-tripper in an OU uniform.

“I talked [about playing loose] with them today and I think we started as a little different club today with a different approach than some of the guys that were playing,” said OU coach Pete Hughes, who picked up his first career win in the Sooner dugout.

Neuse went 2 for 4 on the afternoon and drove in four runs. Hermelyn also went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Rightfielder Taylor Alspaugh drove in two runs as part of a 2 for 5 afternoon.

The best sign for OU’s future came on the mound. Sophomore left-hander Adam Choplick, who battled injuries and inconsistency last season, held the Pirates to one run on four hits over six innings. He walked just one and struck out five.

“I thought [Choplick] was awesome,” Hughes said. “I thought he threw a lot of strikes and pitched well with runners on base, when he had to. He fielded his position and his fastball was really good.”

Anthony Elia took the loss for Seton Hall. He lasted six innings and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks to go with a pair of strikeouts.

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