No. 8 OU Heads to Wichita State Tuesday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 01, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 8 Oklahoma (35-11 overall, 13-5 Big 12), coming off a 2-1 series victory against Kansas, will play its final mid-week contest of the year on Tuesday, May 2 against No. 23 Wichita State (34-15 overall, 12-4 MVC).  First pitch at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan.  is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

The teams met earlier in the season on Feb. 28 at L. Dale Mitchell Park and the Shockers handed the Sooners a 12-2 defeat.  Wichita State leads the all-time series 9-7.

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on KOKC 1520 AM with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play.  Pregame coverage for all Sooner baseball games, begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch.  In addition, live stats for all games this season can be viewed on 

Game Notes (PDF) | Big 12 Notes | ScheduleLive Stats

Oklahoma’s rally, and bid for a third consecutive series sweep, came up short on Sunday in the series finale against No. 30 Kansas, as it fell 7-5 at Hoglund Park. 

The loss ended the Sooners’ 13-game winning streak (season high).   Chuckie Caufield finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored while Kevin Smith went 2-for-4.  Five different Jayhawks connected for two hits apiece as Kansas outhit Oklahoma 11-9

In the first two games of the Kansas series, the OU offense exploded for a combined 28 runs off 43 hits en route to 11-9 (10 innings) and 17-2 victories.  In the three-game series, OU connected for 10 home runs, marking the most homers by an OU team in a Big 12 series since 2000 (13 vs. Iowa State).

Additionally, the Sooners pounded out a season-high 25 hits in game two, marking the highest total since the 1997 season when OU outhit Missouri Southern, 26-12.  The school record for most hits in a game is 30, set by the 1989 team that topped Northern Iowa.

On Monday, the Sooners hosted New Mexico and welcomed them to L. Dale Mitchell Park with 18 runs on 18 hits.  The game marked the first meeting between the two since 1988.  Despite trailing 7-6 after six frames, OU rallied and used a 10-run seventh inning to put the Lobos away.


Chuckie Caufield
The Sooners’ right fielder is riding a seven-game hitting streak which has seen him connect for 14 hits (three homers) and seven RBI. He leads Oklahoma in batting average (.388), hits (71), runs (52), stolen bases (16) and multiple-hit games (24).

The Shockers enter Tuesday’s game having won 10 of its last 12 games with the only two setbacks coming against Big 12 schools (Oklahoma State and Nebraska).   Also included in that span is a 7-3 win over Kansas State.  Since topping the Sooners, 12-2, on Feb. 28 in Norman earlier this season, the Shockers have remained in one of the top 25 polls (NCBWA). 

-Offensively,  sophomore Damon Sublett leads the team in batting average (.395), home runs (10), RBI (45) and slugging percentage (.648).  He did not play in WSU’s last game but went a combined 5-for-9 with two RBI in the first two games of the Indiana State series.

-Sophomore, Kris Johnson is expected to get the starting nod on Tuesday against the Sooners.  The lefty is 4-1 this year with a 3.64 ERA.  In 29 2/3 innings, the hurler has 25 strikeouts opposite 11 walks. 

-Wichita State is coached by Gene Stephenson, who is in his 29th season at the Shockers’ helm.   He is 1,540-504-3 (.753) in that span.  He led the Shockers to a second place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 16-8 mark.  The Shockers return 19 letterwinners and five position starters from a 2005 team that finished 51-24 last year and went 2-2 in the Knoxville Regional.

-WSU leads the all-time series with OU, 9-7.  The two split a home and home series in 2005 and have split two-game sets in each of the last three seasons.

The Sooners’ season high 13-game winning streak was stopped in its last contest versus Kansas.  The streak was the longest since the 1985 season when the Sooners strung together 19 consecutive victories.  During the recent streak, OU hit .365 as a team with 28 doubles and 16 home runs.  Kevin Smith drove in 20 runs during the winning streak and Ryan Rohlinger drove in 17.  In addition, Kody Kaiser (15 RBI) was one of four Sooners (Caufield, Rohlinger, Smith) to hit three homers.

TOP 25
After being ranked in each of the four major polls on March 13, 2006 for the first time since April 19, 2004, the Oklahoma baseball team remained in the all four rankings for the eighth consecutive week and gainined ground in three polls.  For the 10th consecutive week, OU was ranked in the top 30 by both Collegiate Baseball magazine and the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s (NCBWA) polls.  OU is No. 11 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 9 in the NCBWA poll.  In the USA Today/ESPN poll, OU remained at the No. 8 slot and Baseball America has the Sooners at No. 9.  Refer to page six for a complete week-by-week breakdown of the rankings.

 The last time OU was ranked as high as No. 8 was during the 1998 season (No. 8 by Collegiate Baseball on March 16).  In the USA Today/ESPN poll released on March 16 of that year, OU was the No. 7 ranked team in the nation.   The 1998 team was ranked as high as No. 3 (CB) on March 9.

Although not official, provides a weekly pseudo RPI system.  OU is ranked No. 9 in last week’s ranking released on Thursday, April 27.  The Big 12 is rated the No. 3 power conference in the nation and is right behind the ACC and SEC.  Nebraska comes in at No. 5 and Texas is the only other Big 12 team ahead of OU at No. 8.

In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, released on Tuesday, April 25, Oklahoma was listed as the best team in terms of fielding percentage (.984).    In addition, OU was tied for 10th in terms of winning percentage (.762).  Individually, Steven Guerra has the second most ins in the nation (8).  Twelve pitchers across the nation have nine wins and 19 others have eight victories.  The rankings did not include OU’s game against New Mexico on Monday.

The Sooners knew heading into 2006 that the defense would be solid with all but one position starter returning from 2005.  So far after 46 games, OU owns the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.984), has committed the fewest errors (28) and is tied for the most double plays turned (45).  OU has finished 20 games this season without an error and is 18-2 in those contests (Rice and Memphis).

Below is a look at the Big 12 standings after action on Monday, May 1:

Team Big 12 Overall
Nebraska 15-3 36-6
Texas 16-4 32-15
OKLAHOMA  13-5 35-11 
Oklahoma State 10-8 31-13
Baylor 10-11 27-19
Kansas 10-11 32-16
Missouri 9-12 21-21
Texas Tech 6-13-1 27-20-1
Kansas State 4-13-1 24-16-1
Texas A&M 4-17 21-26

In all but one of the first 13 weekends of the 2006 season, OU has come out with at least two wins, including five sweeps (Western Illinois, UC Riverside, Centenary, Missouri and Texas Tech).  The weekend against Texas marked the first below .500 record for OU in a weekend series.  OU lost the first two games but rallied to defeat Texas 12-7 in the series finale.  In addition, the series loss to Texas was the first Big 12 series defeat under head coach Sunny Golloway.  OU, led by Golloway in 2005, defeated Kansas St.,Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in three-game series and also topped Texas A&M, Baylor, Missouri, Texas Tech and Kansas this season.

OU has connected for 152 RBI with two outs on the board in 2006.  That accounts for 45 percent of the team’s total of 334 RBI.  The team’s top two RBI individuals, Kevin Smith (52) and Ryan Rohlinger (46), each have double-digit RBI with two outs with 27 and 25, respectively.  In addition,  Kody Kaiser (30) has driven in 15 runs with two out and Aaron Reza (27) and Freddy Rodriguez (26) have both driven in 14 runs with two outs.

One of the goals established by pitching coach Fred Corral was to have his staff reach 300 innings before 100 walks.  After game three of the Texas A&M series, OU had walked 97 batters in 303 IP.  Currently, the pitching staff is averaging just under three walks per game (2.93, fourth-best average in the Big 12) and has walked two or fewer batters on 21 occasions this year (OU is 17-4 in those games), including four games without registering a single walk (Texas State, WIU-GM2, Memphis and Indiana State).  

In one stretch, the staff went 22 2/3 consecutive innings without walking a batter, starting with the seventh inning of the Long Beach State game, continuing through the Memphis and Indiana State games, and ending in the third inning against Notre Dame.  Steven Guerra has been the most successful starter in the category, lasting five separate outings without surrendering a walk.

The Sooners have played in 15 one-run games this season and have suffered losses in three of those contests.   Two of those defeats occurred in back-to-back weekends (Arizona State-GM1 and Baylor-GM1).  The only other one-run defeat came in the Service Academies Classic against Memphis.   In 2005, OU played in 12 one-run games and recorded a 9-3 mark.

The Sooners have faced eight teams this season ranked in one of the four major polls in collegiate baseball (USA Today/Sports Weekly, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA).  OU is 9-7 in those contests with wins over Kansas (NR, NR, NR, 30) Rice (1, 2, 3, 1), Texas (11, 10, 10, 13), Baylor-twice (21, 22, 23, 24) Arizona State (13, 16, 11, 13) Long Beach State (20, 19, 15, 11) and Notre Dame (NR, NR, 22, 28).  OU has lost to Kansas, Texas-twice, Arizona State, Rice (4, 5,4, 2) and Wichita State (NR, NR, 28, 24).  The Sooners will also face two more teams ranked in this week’s polls (Wichita State and Nebraska) later on this season, combining for four of their final 10 regular season games.  (All rankings listed were taken at the time of competition).

OU is second in the Big 12 in shutouts with five this season (Missouri-6, Nebraska-5).  The Sooners have blanked Western Illinois (14-0), UC Riverside (1-0), Centenary (12-0), UT-Arlington (8-0) and Texas A&M (1-0 in 11 innings) in 2006.  The Sooners only recorded two shutouts all of last season and the last time an OU squad posted five shutouts was in 1992.  The record for most shutouts in a season is 18 (1976 and 1973).

Senior hurler Steven Guerra was named to the watch list for the 2006 Brooks Wallace Award, presented annually to the national college baseball player of the year. 

In his first season as a Sooner, Guerra appeared in 16 games, starting a team-high 15 and lasted at least five innings in 12 of those starts.  The Paso Robeles, Calif., native complied a 5-6 record over 85.2 innings tossed (second most on the team) in 2005 and was tied for third on the team in strikeouts (53).

The Wallace Watch will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists by late May.Then the selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals at a press conference in Omaha

The Sooners signed 14 athletes for the 2007 season last November.  Below is a brief look at the incoming class.

-Aaron Baker- Denton, Texas (Denton HS)
 C - 6-3 - 220 - L/R
 -Very physical athlete, excellent power from left side of the plate
-Vincent Biancamano - Glendale, Ariz. (Chandler Gilbert C.C.)
 IF - 6-0 - 190 - R/R
 -Fits the mold of a very offensive middle infielder

-Tanner Chitwood - Sulphur, Okla. (Sulphur HS)
 LHP - 6-3 - 220 - L/L
 -Tall, physical power with a left-handed arm

-Andrew Doyle - Rock Island, Ill. (Alleman High School)
 RHP - 6-3 - 205 - R/R
 -Very athletic, physical, potential weekend starter

-Mike Gosse - Pitt Meadows, B.C. Canada (New Mexico J.C.)
 IF - 5-9 - 170 - L/R
 -Outstanding hitter that will bat for high average

-Bryant Hernandez - Oxnard, Calif. (St. Bonaventure HS)
 IF - 5-9 - 161 - R/R
 -Stellar defensive infielder, hits for average

-Chad Lee - Oklahoma City (Barton County Community College)
 RHP - 6-3 - 190 - R/R
 -Power pitcher that has made great strides in last year

-Garrett Richards- Edmond, Okla. (Edmond Memorial)
 RHP - 6-3 - 185 - R/R
 -Great control pitcher with high ceiling

-Tyson Seng - Enid, Okla. (Enid HS)
 IF/RHP - 6-0 - 165 - R/R
 -Exceptional all-around athlete, will compete with starters

-Devin Shepherd - Agoura Hills, Calif. (Oxnard HS)
 OF - 6-4 - 230 - R/R
 -Possibly best high school outfielder in the country, five-tool player

-Brandon Thomson - Gilbert, Ariz. (Chandler Gilbert C.C.)
 LHP - 5-11 - 190 - L/L
 -Left-handed arm with power, will likely be drafted high in June

-Danny Grande - Corpus Christi, Texas (Moody High School)
 RHP - 6-0 - 170 - R/R
 -Hard throwing right-hander, has a lot of upside-

-Zach Hedges - Bentonville, Ark. (Bentonville High School)
 IF - 6-2 - 190 - R/R
 -Very athletic corner infielder, power from right side of the plate

-John “Red” Patterson - Frisco, Texas (Grayson County College)
 RHP - 6-3 - 200 - R/R
 -Very consistent in the strike zone, throws 88-90



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