Sooners Host Wildcats In Final Big 12 Home Series
NORMAN, Okla. -- Down to only two Big 12 Conference series left in the year, 19th-ranked Oklahoma (28-18, 14-7 Big 12) will host Kansas State (23-22, 3-15 Big 12) in its final league series at L. Dale Mitchell Park this season. The series will start Friday night at 7 p.m. and conclude with 1 p.m. contests on Saturday and Sunday.
Friday’s series opening promotion will be courteousy of the Big 12 Conference where fans will have the chance to win great prizes.
Throughout the weekend, fans will have the chance to win either a Mark Redman or Russ Ortiz autograph baseball and, on Sunday, fans will have the opportunity to win an Ortiz autograph picture.
Baseball Bingo presented by Gordmans will also be played during the weekend where participants will have a chance to win a $10 gift card from Gordmans and OU gift packs.
Sunday’s game is designated as Church Bulletin Day. Fans that present a church bulletin at the gate will receive a regular adult general admission ticket for $2 ($3 off the regular price). The promotion is based on ticket availability and limited to a maximum of four people per bulletin.
Setting The Scene
DATES: May 7-9
FIRST PITCHES: Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
BALLPARK: L. Dale Mitchell Park (2,700)
LOCATION: Norman, Okla.
RADIO: The series will be broadcast locally on KREF (1400 AM) with Mike Treps calling the action. The games can also be heard on Oklahoma’s official web site www.SoonerSports.com.
TELEVISION: None, however, The O-Zone, Oklahoma’s subscription-based premium content area within SoonerSports.com, will air the entire series.
LIVE STATS: Live Stats, which can be accessed through SoonerSports.com, will be run during the series to provide fans live updates on the game’s progress.
RANKINGS: Oklahoma is ranked 19th by Baseball America, 24th by the NCBWA and 26th by Collegiate Baseball. The Sooners are also receiving votes in the latest Sports Weekly/ESPN poll.
KANSAS STATE SERIES NOTES: Oklahoma leads the overall series 164-61-1 ... The series includes a 70-37 edge in Norman, a 86-23-4 advantage in Manhattan and an 8-1 edge on neutral ground for the Sooners ... OU swept the three-game series between the two schools in Norman in 2002 ... OU owns an 17-4 advantage over KSU since the inception of the Big 12 Conference ... The Sooners are 34-12 against the Cats’ under Head Coach Larry Cochell ... Oklahoma came away with two wins out of the three games between the two schools last year ... Matt Bose drove in at least one run in each game of the series ... OU dropped the first game in Manhattan, 8-2 ... ... The Sooners rebounded with a 10-8 game two victory ... David Purcey picked up the victory on the mound after allowing only two runs on three hits and striking out seven ... Bose collected his second RBI-hit of the series in the contest ... OU then run-ruled KSU in the series finale, 22-6 ... LaFringe Hayes had a career day at the plate with three hits and three RBI.
Last Time Out
The 15th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners salvaged a game three win in the Bedlam Series presented by the Bank of Oklahoma and Your Oklahoma Ford Dealers with a 4-1 win over No. 26 Oklahoma State Saturday night at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark. In front of a crowd of 12,283, the pitching duo of senior Mike Swindell and junior Daniel McCutchen led the Sooners to victory with a pair of standout efforts.
Swindell (3-2) earned the win after pitching a season high six innings and giving up one earned run in his second start this season. He struck out six batters in the first three innings to record a new career high in the category and walked only three batters.
McCutchen came in and worked the final three frames and retired eight of the nine batters during his stint and faced the minimum in each of the innings. He picked up his second save of the season for his efforts.
Oklahoma’s offense provided just enough runs on 10 hits to support the standout pitching performance. Sophomore second baseman Russell Raley completed his second consecutive three hit effort of the doubleheader as he was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. The Uvalde, Texas, native batted .636 for the series.
Raley extended his career best hitting streak to 13 games with a double in his first at bat to ignite a first inning rally for the Sooners. After a single to left field by sophomore shortstop Ryan Rohlinger (1-for-4) moved him to third base, junior first baseman Ole Sheldon (1-for-3) brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Raley also factored into the Sooners’ second score in the third inning. After he singled to advance sophomore leftfielder Scott Rooker (2-for-3), who had singled in the previous at bat, to third base, he got caught in a rundown between first and second base allowing Rooker to score.
The Cowboys finally got to Swindell for their only run in the fifth inning to cut OU’s lead to 2-1. Third baseman Josh Fields placed a double in right-center field to plate designated hitter Ty Wright, who had preceeded him with a base hit.
Senior rightfielder Andrew McGuire (1-for-3) added to Oklahoma’s total in the seventh inning with his team-leading seventh homer of the season. Junior designated hitter Eric Thornton (1-for-3) also scored on the homer to make the score 4-1 in favor of the Sooners.
Sooners At The Plate
Oklahoma is batting .283 on the season with 275 runs scored and 238 RBI ... In Big 12 games only, the Sooners are hitting at a .278 clip with 121 runs scored and 105 RBI ... OU’s offense has produced double-digit hit efforts in 17 of the last 23 contests ... The Sooners’ leading hitter last week was sophomore second baseman Russell Raley ... Raley batted .500 (8-for-16) with five runs scored and one RBI over the four games ... He also hit a series best .636 (7-for-11) against Oklahoma State ... In addition to the pair of career high tying three hits in each game of the Saturday doubleheader, Raley reached base safely in eight of his 10 trips to the plate that day ... Senior rightfielder Andrew McGuire had his streak of reaching base safely stopped at 38 games over the weekend ... McGuire has only been kept off base in two games this year ... McGuire launched his team-leading seventh home run in the Bedlam Series finale ... It marked the second week in a row that he has gone deep in league action ... After struggling for most of the season to find a regular starter in left field, the Sooners received some solid offensive production out of the position this weekend ... Five players, including three different starters and two subs, combined to bat .455 (5-for-11) with three runs scored against Oklahoma State ... Freshman Chad Lembeck went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored in his start in left field in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday, while sophomore Scott Rooker turned in a 2-for-3 effort with a run scored in his start in the second game of the twinbill ... In addition to his solid performance on Saturday, Rooker made the most of his opportunities last week ... He hit at a .556 (5-for-9) clip with three runs scored and one RBI in the four games last week, including the one start ... Ole Sheldon was one of the team’s key performers during the Bedlam Series ... The junior first baseman drove in five of the team’s 14 runs over the three games, including a pair of two RBI performances.
Sooners On The Mound
The Oklahoma pitching staff is sporting a 3.98 ERA and has struck out 388 batters while walking 163 ... In Big 12 Conference games only, OU sports a 4.33 ERA with 175 strikeouts and 80 walks ... Already the owner of the school’s career innings pitched record, senior righthander Mark Roberts inched closer to breaking another one of OU’s prominent career pitching records last week ... With his five strikeout performance against Oklahoma State, Roberts moved to within eight strikeouts of setting a new all-time strikeout mark ... The Owasso, Okla., native walked only one batter on Thursday night which marked his first free pass in his last two starts ... Over the last four games, Roberts has walked only four batters which is the lowest total for any four game stretch for the senior this season ... Speaking of walks, OU’s bullpen did not issue any during the series against Oklahoma State spanning nine innings ... Senior Mike Swindell made two starts last week, one against Arkansas-Little Rock and one against Oklahoma State in the series finale ... The righthander gave up only one run in eight innings between the two starts and allowed only seven hits ... He fanned a career high six batters in his outing against the Cowboys ... Junior starting pitcher David Purcey also established a new career high last weekend against the Cowboys ... Purcey worked a career high nine innings on Saturday surpassing his previous best of 7.2 frames ... Junior righthander Daniel McCutchen made an appearance in each game of the Bedlam Series last weekend ... He worked at least two innings in each outing and totaled seven innings over the three games ... The Norman, Okla., native gave up only four hits and one run while striking out five and did not issue any walks ... He suffered the loss in the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, but rebounded with a save in the second game.
Semore To Be Honored In Pre-Game Ceremony
Former Oklahoma head baseball coach Enos Semore will be honored in a pre-game ceremony this Saturday before OU’s contest against Kansas State. The program’s all-time winningest head coach, Semore will be recognized for his numerous achievments and contributions on the diamond during his 22 years in Norman in an on-field ceremony held just prior to the Sooners’ 1 p.m. first pitch against the Wildcats.
With Semore at the helm, Oklahoma experienced one of its most successful stints in program history. Semore led OU to the NCAA Tournament 14 times, including five trips to the College World Series. On the conference level, Semore’s clubs captured eight regular season Big Eight titles.
A number of Oklahoma players also blossomed under his tuteledge. He coached 17 All-Americans, 34 all-district selections and 63 first team all-conference picks.
His accomplishments as one of the greatest coaches at Oklahoma as well in the country were recognized consistently throughout his career. Semore was twice named National Coach of the Year and chosen as the District Coach of the Year six other times.
Earlier this year, the American Baseball Coaches Association announced that Semore will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame next year. The induction ceremony will take place on Jan. 7, 2005, at the Hall of Fame/Coaches of the Year Banquet in Nashville, Tenn.
Reaching Another Milestone
By picking up his 500th win as the head coach of the Sooners last week, Larry Cochell also moved closer to another milestone in his career. With 1,297 victories to his credit during his 38 year career, Cochell stands only three wins shy of the 1,300 win mark. The total has only been achieved by eight other Division I head coaches all-time, including four which are still active.
No Room For Error
The Oklahoma defense has drastically improved its fielding over the last two weeks. Likewise, the team’s fielding percentage has benefitted as a result. The Sooners leaped six spots into second place in team fielding percentage in Big 12 Conference games only by not committing any errors during the three game series against Oklahoma State last weekend. In OU’s last two Big 12 series against OSU and Texas Tech, the Sooners have been charged with only two errors in 246 chances for a .992 fielding percentage.
As a direct result, Oklahoma has also improved its standing by one spot in the conference rankings in games overall. OU now stands in seventh place in team fielding percentage.
Not In A Sophomore Slump
With only three weeks left in the regular season, sophomore second baseman Russell Raley has proven that he has successfully avoided the dreaded sophomore slump this year. Raley has served as one of Oklahoma’s most consistent offensive performers throughout the year and currently ranks in the top five on the team in seven major offensive categories. Additionally, he has never allowed his batting average to dip below the .300 mark all season.
Raley is currently enjoying a career and active team best 13 game hitting streak in which he is batting .411 (23-for-56) with 15 runs scored and seven RBI. He has also put together an impressive stretch of scoring runs as he has scored at least one in nine of the last 11 games. His five runs scored last week helped him take over the team lead in the category.
His recent hot streak has him appearing on the Big 12 Conference radar screen in its weekly individual statistics rankings. In games overall, Raley ranks 19th in the conference in hitting and, in Big 12 games only, he ranks 22nd in hitting and second in runs scored and hits.
Leaving His Mark
Senior righthanded pitcher Mark Roberts eclipsed the program’s all-time innings pitched mark two weeks ago to capture the first of two OU career records easily within his reach. Roberts’ seven innings at Texas Tech put him over the top with 321 innings pitched in his four year career as he surpassed former Sooner Austin Mix who registered 320.2 from 2000-2003.
The Owasso, Okla., native also moved closer to breaking another school record last Thursday night. His five strikeouts in the game put him eight strikeouts away from breaking the career strikeout record which is also held by Mix and former Sooner Mark Redman (1994-95). Mix and Redman both own the record with 294 in their respective careers.
Not only does Ole Sheldon own the top spot on several of the Sooners’ offensive statistics sheet, but the junior first baseman is also making an assault on Big 12 Conference’s leaderboard. Sheldon leads the league in hitting in games overall and conference games only.
The Roseburg, Ore., native has consistently appeared at or near the top of numerous other conference games only categories as well. He ranks first in hits, tied for second in doubles and RBI, third in total bases, tied for fifth in runs scored and sixth in on-base percentage.
Sheldon also appears among the league leaders in three other overall games categories. He is second in hits, 10th in total bases and tied for 10th in doubles.
Sheldon leads the Sooner squad in batting average, hits, doubles, on-base percentage and RBI.
King Of The Hill
Junior closer Jarod McAuliff became OU’s all-time appearances leader with his 84th career outing during the Texas A&M series. He passed former Sooner Evan Greusel who previously held the record with 83 appearances from 1999-2002.
McAuliff’s 27 appearances this season put the Stillwater, Okla., native over the mark in only his third year. His appearances total currently ranks first in the Big 12 Conference in games overall and he is also tied for the conference game only mark with 12 appearances in league action.
As the team’s designated closer over the last two years, McAuliff made his largest move up the appearances chart last year by making 35 outings out of the bullpen. The total fell two outings shy of establishing a new single-season mark.
He saw most of his action in relief as a freshman in 2002 when he made 24 outings on the mound. He averaged 29.5 appearances during his first two years and is already two outings shy of that mark this year with 27.
McAuliff also has a chance to break another school pitching record. The Stillwater, Okla., native currently stands in second place on the career saves list. He trails the leader, Jeff Bajenaru (1999-2000), by 12 saves.
A Season Of Firsts
The 2004 Sooner baseball squad has already accomplished several firsts in program history and several other feats that haven’t happened in quite a while. Here’s a brief look at what this team has already accomplished to this point of the season:
Oklahoma took two out of three at No. 13 Texas A&M last weekend to capture its fourth-straight conference series, a first in the Sooners’ Big 12 Conference history.
The series win over the Aggies was the first time since the 2000 season that OU has won two conference road series. During the 2000 season, the Sooners were victorious in three Big 12 road series.
Earlier in the season, the Sooners swept three straight league opponents for the first time since 1984. That year Oklahoma won a pair of two-game sets against Oklahoma State and Kansas and a four-game series over Kansas State.
Oklahoma put together a nine-game winning streak in Big 12 play which is the first time since 1986 (when OU was a member of the Big Eight Conference) that the Sooners had won nine straight league games.
Tough On The Competition
Oklahoma continues to own a solid season mark of 15-5 against teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. The record also includes victories over nationally-ranked foes Cal State Fullerton, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Texas and Oral Roberts.
OU is slated to face two more teams this season that advanced to regionals last year including Wichita State and Nebraska.
Additionally, OU is 7-3 this year against nationally-ranked teams.