Oklahoma didn’t appear ready for the renewal of the Red River Rivalry quite yet, and Texas took full advantage of it.
No. 16 Oklahoma (26–7, 4–3 Big 12) didn’t look like the team who sat in second place in the Big 12 standings coming off a 2-1 series win over No. 6 Texas Tech.
The Sooners’ sloppy play on defense proved to be lethal as the Longhorns continued to capitalize on the multitude of Sooner mistakes. Oklahoma’s two errors combined with the lack of execution on the defensive end led to Texas (21–12, 5–5 Big 12) plating four early runs in the Longhorns’ 5-3 game-one victory over their arch rivals at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
“It’s Oklahoma-Texas,” head coach David Pierce said. “I thought it was an exciting ball game. They kicked a little bit early, we took advantage of it, we got a 4-1 lead and we held onto it … It’s just a great Friday night win against a very quality opponent.”
Texas’ first run in the first inning proved to foreshadow what was in store for the rest of the game.
Oklahoma pitcher Dylan Gove committed a throwing error, allowing all Texas base runners to safely reach their bag, but sophomore Tate Shaw rounded third base too hard and found himself in a chase down between third and home.
Shaw decided to dart for the plate as the ball flew over his head and into the catcher’s glove, but right as Shaw slid home, the ball bounced to the ground. He safely slid home for Texas’ first run of the night.
Two innings and another Sooner error later, Texas jumped out a a 4-0 lead, but the Longhorn defense continued to shine en route to holding Oklahoma to just three runs.
“I thought our defense was exceptional again,” Pierce said. “I’m just so proud of the way they’re playing defense with such anticipation and awareness and wanting the baseball hit to them. That’s a big part of their mentality and pride right now.”
Sophomore Nolan Kingham got the start on the mound for game one. The right hander admitted he didn’t have his best performance, but still only gave up two runs in his seven innings pitched.
“Anyone can throw good when all their stuff is working,” Kingham said. “My last couple of starts I haven’t really had anything, but I’m just trying to go as long as I can in the game and it’s been doing alright for me.”
Sophomore Beau Ridgeway was brought in relief in the eighth inning, but suspense grew as Oklahoma blasted two home runs to cut the Texas lead to 5-3.
But that’s as close as Ridgeway allowed it to get. Texas sealed the game one victory to take the early series lead. However, this isn’t an unfamiliar position. Texas jumped out to a 1-0 series lead over Kansas last weekend before dropping the next two in the series loss.
But with the electric atmosphere and large crowds the Red River Rivalry produces, Pierce knows his team will come out hungry for game two at 4 pm Saturday afternoon.
“We’re playing Oklahoma, so they better be hungry,” Pierce said. “They will be. We just got to go out and do our jobs and not try and do more. That was our message coming out of Kansas; ‘Quit trying harder,’ because that’s not the answer.”