By John Shinn

Transcript Sports Writer

A lot can change in six weeks. The fortunes of a season can easily blossom or wilt in that amount of time.

Oklahoma’s fortunes seemed to have turned for the better during that span and Texas-Pan American can testify.

Tuesday night, the Sooners rode another strong pitching performance from Joseph Hughes to a 4-1 victory over the Broncs at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

The victory came 38 days after the Sooners were whipped 2-0 by UTPA in the second game of the season in Edinburg, Texas.

“We’re a totally different team from the start,” Hughes said. “I think at the beginning we were all trying to figure each other out and come together as a team.”

That feeling-out process resulted in a 2-4 start with both a win and loss coming against the Broncs.

But the getting-familiar time is over. The Sooners have settled down. Tuesday performance yielded their 12th win in the last 13 games.

The biggest reason for the hot streak is the pitching. The victory was Hughes’ third straight and lifted him to 3-1. He held UTPA to five hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out four to go along with two walks.

“The key today for us was pitching,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “We were solid on the mound.”

After giving up an RBI to Jerrod Dugas in the second inning, Hughes cruised into the seventh without facing a serious threat.

OU, which improved to 14-5, gave him the lead in the fifth inning with a little help from the Broncs.

Aljay Davis, who went 2-for-3, tied it with an RBI single before two costly errors helped the Sooners take control.

UTPA pitcher Cody Cisper tried to pick off Aaron Ivey at second base, but the ball wound up in center field. Ivey raced home to give OU the lead. Davis moved to the third on the play and scored two pitches later on a wild pitch.

“We’re getting into a rhythm right now,” Davis said. “We’re just kind of running through teams. Things are falling for us now.”

It was a hard-luck night for Cisper. He fell to 0-4 with the loss, but pitched all eight innings. He held OU to five hits and fanned three. Only two of the runs he allowed were earned.

OU added the final run in the sixth inning when Aaron Baker, who tied the school’s freshman hitting streak record at 19 games, scored from second base on a sacrifice fly to center field from Cory Williamson.

While the Broncs kept the gate shut on their bullpen, the Sooners turned to Ryan Mottern for 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief.

Mottern, who was coming off a rocky outing last Saturday at the Tony Gwynn Classic in San Diego, struck out two and Garrett Richards closed out the ninth for his sixth save.

Tuesday night it was all about pitching and taking advantage of what the Broncs were offering. OU struggled to do that in February, but a lot can change in six weeks.

The Sooners and Broncs complete the two-game series at noon today.

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