Cade Horton still had something in the tank.
The redshirt freshman pitcher delivered a masterful performance in OU’s 6-2 win over Notre Dame in the College World Series on Sunday. Horton hit a career-high 11 strikeouts in six innings, but he began to lose strength towards the end.
After Horton conceded a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning that cut OU’s lead to 5-2, Horton was greeted by head coach Skip Johnson on the mound for a discussion.
Obviously things went well.
Johnson chose not to replace Horton, who needed an out to finish the inning, and that decision paid off. Horton faced Notre Dame’s Brooks Coetzee III on the next at-bat, and he got the senior to bat with a 2-2 count.
That was the end of the day for Horton, who let OU’s bullpen finish the last three innings to secure the win.
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“I’ve told several people, one of the best freshman pitchers I’ve ever encountered,” Johnson said of Horton. “It’s no different than watching a big player how quickly (Horton) can pick things up. And I’m not saying he’s not a great player, but one day he’ll have that opportunity.”
After batting five of the first 11 batters he faced, Horton got some help from the Sooners’ bats in the bottom of the third inning.
The first run came courtesy of Tanner Tredaway, who dug up a slider and sent him to midfield for an RBI single. Wallace Clark later delivered an RBI single of his own two at-bats to give OU a 2-0 lead.
The Sooners rolled on at the bottom of the fifth inning.
Clark brought up a run with a bunt and a throwing error to first base allowed another Sooner to get home. Jackson Nicklaus then added an RBI single that extended the lead to 5-0.
A double homer by Notre Dame’s David LaManna made it a 5-2 contest in the top of the sixth inning, but OU responded at the bottom of the frame.
With his father Chad Tredaway watching from the stands on Father’s Day, Tanner sent Tredaway a shot down the middle for his second RBI single of the contest.
“I really like to keep things simple,” said Tanner Tredaway. “I’m just trying to swing good pitches and try not to get out of my zone.”
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After a one-inning performance by Jaret Godman, Trevin Michael secured the last six outs on the mound.
Tanner Tredaway recorded two RBIs and two runs at 3-for-4 batting. Clark notched two RBIs and a run while playing 1-on-3 on the plate.
Peyton Graham also went 4-for-4 with two steals. He is the first player since Barry Bonds in 1984 to have four hits and two steals in a CWS game.
OU meets the winner of No. 5-seeded Texas A&M and Notre Dame at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday. As the only undefeated team in their group, OU must lose twice to be eliminated.
With just one more win, the Sooners will advance to the championship round of the College World Series for the first time since winning the title in 1994.
“Our thing is we want to prove people wrong and make an explanation,” Tanner Tredaway said. “That’s what we want to do here… We’re taxiing and we’re going to keep going.”
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Top First: Blake Robertson starts the game with a Web Gem
Notre Dame’s Ryan Cole surfaced a ball in first place of the game and Blake Robertson made the catch as it fell into the opposition dugout.
Lower third: Earlier strike first
OU came on the scoreboard first with two RBI singles from Tanner Tredaway and Wallace Clark to make it a 2-0 contest.
Lower Fifth: Earlier pile it up
After scoring two unearned runs from Wallace Clark, Jackson Nickaus extended OU’s lead to 5-0 with an RBI single.
Upper Sixth: Notre Dame comes on the board
David LaManna hit a two-barrel home run that cut the deficit to 5-2.
Lower Sixth: Tredaway strikes again
Tredaway extended OU’s lead to 6-2 with his second RBI single of the day.