NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma hoped to ride the arm of Ben Abram to a victory Tuesday, but wound up needing a little more.
The Sooners needed offense.
Oral Roberts had more of that in a 4-2, 11-inning victory over OU at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Sooners finished with just five hits and struggled with runners in scoring position, continuing a recent trend.
OU dropped its fourth game in five tries, and its lack of timely hits were a driving force — much like in a series loss at West Virginia days earlier.
The Sooners have left 49 runners on base in their past four games. They left 13 on against the Golden Eagles and were 0-13 with runners in scoring position.
Things got interesting in the 11th, but the result was familiar.
After ORU had taken a two-run lead on two RBI-singles, a Brady Harlan single and a walk put two Sooners on base. ORU reliever Spencer Henson’s wild pitch moved runners to second and third, but Brandon Zaragoza and Brylie Ware both struck out, sending ORU players spilling out of the dugout.
For OU, it was a difficult way to begin a six-game homestand, considering it never trailed until the 11th inning.
The Sooners have Abram to thank for that.
The freshman pitcher from Georgetown, Ontario produced his best collegiate start, with career highs in strikeouts (9) and innings pitched (7). He scattered three hits and worked efficiently, needing just 91 pitches to get through his outing.
That followed a shaky start, too.
After allowing a game-tying solo home run to Riley Keizor in the second inning and then a single, Abram caught fire. He didn’t allow another base runner, retiring 16 straight batters.
He needed just six pitches to get out of the fourth inning and worked well with a 2-1 lead, built on Ware’s double down the right-field line in the first inning, which scored Zaragoza all the way from first base.
Tyler Hardman added an RBI sacrifice fly in the third inning that made it 2-1 OU, which was plenty of room for Abram.
But as soon as he exited, ORU tied it at 2-2 in the eighth when Blake Hall hit a solo home run off reliever Zack Matthews.
The Sooners (22-8, 4-2 Big 12) had their chances.
Junior reliever Jason Ruffcorn, who absorbed his first loss this season, inherited a tough situation in the 10th inning. He faced two runners on and no outs, but escaped cleanly to get the Sooners to the bottom half of the frame.
OU didn’t take advantage. It left two runners on base and ORU (14-12, 6-3 Summit League) ultimately made the most of their situation with the two late singles. The Golden Eagles scraped together eight hits, despite struggling against Abram.
No Sooner tallied multiple hits, and Abram received a no decision.
OU hosts TCU for a three-game series this weekend, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park.