The Oklahoman

Streaking Sooners ‘a little better every day’

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NORMAN — Anthony Mackenzie sprung into action.

OU needed one more out to earn a road win over Houston on Sunday, but its one-run lead became jeopardize­d when the Cougars placed a runner on second base.

OU pitcher Aaron Weber sent a slider in the direction of Justin Murray, who sent a ground ball down the third-base line.

Mackenzie was all over it. The junior sprinted toward the ball, scooped it up and sent a bullet pass to first baseman Rocco Garza-Gongora for the out.

The play didn't just seal OU's 7-6 win over Houston. It sealed the Sooners' three-game sweep and extended their win streak to five.

“The biggest takeaway for us is that we've played a little better every day,” OU head coach Skip Johnson said. “The bullpen was good. ... I think our defense is going to get better and better."

Top player this week

Aaron Weber, RHP: Weber recorded two saves in OU's 8-7 win over UNLV on Wednesday and its 7-6 win over Houston on Sunday. The Cowley College transfer didn't allow any hits and recorded a strikeout in the combined 1 1⁄

3 innings of action.

Stat to know

2: OU doesn't have the most powerful bats, but it finds a way to get on base. The Sooners boast an on-base percentage of .429 this season, which ranks second in the Big 12.

Aaron Weber could be the Sooners' go-to closer

The Sooners needed to stop the bleeding.

OU held a two-run lead over UNLV in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday, but that lead got cut in half when the Rebels' Austin Kryszczuk delivered an RBI single with two outs.

Johnson then called the number of Weber, who emerged from the bullpen and took his place at the mound.

The sophomore needed one more out to get the save, and he battled UNLV's Jason Sharman to a 1-2 count. Weber then delivered his fourth pitch, and this time Sharman struck out swinging.

The strikeout sealed OU's 8-7 victory and completed the two-game sweep.

Weber recorded two saves in the Sooners' five games last week. It's a welcomed sight for OU, which is still searching for a go-to closer after losing to Trevin Michael to the 2022 MLB Draft.

But Weber could be that guy. The former Edmond Memorial standout boasts an unblemishe­d ERA in 5 2⁄ innings

3 pitched this season, and he has racked



5-0 (Beat UNLV 11-6, beat UNLV 8-7, beat Houston 13-1, beat Houston 8-3 and beat Houston 7-6)

At Wichita State, 6 p.m. Tuesday; vs. TCU, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday up six strikeouts along the way.

OU is building momentum as Big 12 play approaches

After beginning the season 2-4, the Sooners have hit their stride.

OU is 9-1 since then, and it all starts with its work at the plate.

The Sooners are batting .332 in their last 10 games, and they've scored an average of 9.8 runs. They only batted .251 in their first six games, resulting in an average of just four runs.

OU's hot hitting comes just in time for Big 12 play. Following a road test against Wichita State on Tuesday, the team begins a three-game home series against TCU on Friday.

Pitching depth remains a concern for the Sooners, who are still figuring things out after seven of their pitchers got selected in the most recent MLB Draft.

But OU has been swinging the bat well as of late. And if that continues, the reigning Big 12 tournament champs could make some noise in conference play once again.

 ?? ?? OU's Rocco Garza-Gongora runs to first base during the Sooners' game against Rider at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman on Feb. 24. STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN
OU's Rocco Garza-Gongora runs to first base during the Sooners' game against Rider at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman on Feb. 24. STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN
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