Cade Horton still had something left in the tank.
The redshirt freshman pitcher delivered a masterful performance during OU’s 6-2 win over Notre Dame on Sunday in the College World Series. Horton racked up a career-high 11 strikeouts in six innings pitched, but he began to lose steam at the end.
After allowing a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning that trimmed OU’s lead to 5-2, Horton was met by head coach Skip Johnson on the mound for a discussion.
Clearly, it went well.
Johnson opted to not replace Horton, who needed one more out to end 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 strike out looking on a 2-2 count.
That marked the end of the day for Horton, who let OU’s bullpen close out the final three innings to secure the victory.
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“I said it to several people, one of the best freshman pitchers I’ve been around, ever,” Johnson said of Horton. “It’s no different than watching a big leaguer, how quick (Horton) can pick stuff up. And I’m not saying he’s a big leaguer, by no means, but he’ll have that opportunity one day.”
After striking out 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 out a slider and sent it into centerfield for an RBI single. Wallace Clark then delivered an RBI single of his own two at-bats later to give OU a 2-0 lead.
The Sooners kept rolling in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Clark brought in a run with a bunt, and a throwing error to first base allowed another Sooner to reach home. Jackson Nicklaus then added an RBI single that extended the lead to 5-0.
A two-run homer by Notre Dame’s David LaManna made it a 5-2 contest in the top of the sixth inning, but OU responded in the bottom of the frame.
With his father, Chad Tredaway, watching from the stands on Father’s Day, Tanner Tredaway sent a shot up the middle for his second RBI single of the contest.
“I really like to keep things simple,” Tanner Tredaway said. “I just try to swing at good pitches and try not to get out of my zone.”
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After a one-inning appearance by Jaret Godman, Trevin Michael secured the final six outs on the mound.
Tanner Tredaway recorded two RBIs and two runs on 3-for-4 hitting. Clark chipped in two RBIs and one run while going 1-for-3 at the plate.
Peyton Graham also went 4-for-4 with two steals. He’s the first player to record four hits and two steals in a CWS game since Barry Bonds in 1984.
OU will face the winner of No. 5-seeded Texas A&M and Notre Dame on Wednesday at 1 p.m. As the only undefeated team left in its bracket, OU must lose twice to be eliminated.
With just one more win, the Sooners will advance to the College World Series’ championship round for the first time since winning the title in 1994.
“Our thing is we want to prove people wrong and make a statement,” Tanner Tredaway said. “We want to do that here… We’re rolling right now, and we’re going to keep riding it.”
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OU vs. Notre Dame live updates
Follow along for updates from OU-Notre Dame:
Top first: Blake Robertson begins game with a web gem
Notre Dame’s Ryan Cole popped up a ball on the first pitch of the game, and Blake Robertson made the catch while falling into the opposing dugout.
Bottom third: Sooners strike first
OU got on the scoreboard first with a pair of RBI singles from Tanner Tredaway and Wallace Clark to make it a 2-0 contest.
Bottom fifth: Sooners pile it on
After scoring two unearned runs off a bunt by Wallace Clark, Jackson Nickaus extended OU’s lead to 5-0 with an RBI single.
Top sixth: Notre Dame gets on the board
David LaManna delivered a two-run home run that trimmed the deficit to 5-2.
Bottom sixth: Tredaway strikes again
Tredaway extended OU’s lead to 6-2 with his second RBI single of the day.
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