Thornton And Patterson Lift OU Past Kansas, 11-9

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 09, 2005

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Sooners battled back from a four-run deficit, after three innings, to post an 11-9 victory on Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park over Kansas. 

OU was led by Eric Thornton’s 3-for-5 performance with two RBI and reliever Garrett Patterson, who made his first appearance on the Sooners’ mound since March 19 to record his first save of the year. 

OU used an eight-run fifth inning to outdistance the Jayhawks for the club’s fifth straight win at home and the 15th overall in 17 games this season. 

Box Score:  Oklahoma 11, Kansas 9

The go-ahead run was made possible when Jackson Williams hit a slow grounder in the fifth frame, with the bases-loaded, to KU pitcher Andrew Rebar and the force at home was botched by the pitcher’s errant throw allowing Ryan Rohlinger to score.   

Patterson entered the game in the top of the eighth with an 11-9 lead after Thornton’s single in the bottom of the eighth plated Rohlinger.  The left-hander, who was OU’s Friday night starter for most of the season, had not seen action in three weeks after aggravating an abdominal injury against Arizona State. 

It was the McAlester, Okla., native’s second appearance out of the Sooners’ pen (first was against Arizona State in the Coca-Cola Classic) and he was stellar recording four strikeouts in the six batters he faced.  Patterson’s was nearly perfect in two innings, allowing just one walk to close the door on KU a day after OU posted a 7-5 win in the series opener. 

KU’s offense forced OU starter Will Savage to make an early exit as the righty lasted just three innings in which he surrendered four earned runs on six hits.  The Jayhawks got all four of the runs off Savage in the third inning.  In that frame, Travis Dunlap led things off with a solo homer to right field and that was followed by an RBI single by A.J. Van Slyke and a two-run triple by Sean Richardson.

The Jayhawks’ surge in the third inning woke up the Sooners’ offense, one inning later, as Williams singled to left field and the hit sent home Rohlinger and Kody Kaiser, who both singled earlier in the frame.

With the gap narrowed to two runs, OU exploded for the eight-run fifth inning.  The Sooners recorded eight runs on six hits in the frame while KU committed three errors.  Thornton, Rohlinger, Kaiser, Kevin Smith (2), Freddy Rodriguez and Russell Raley all collected RBI in the Sooners’ big inning. 

The frame’s run total tied a season-high for OU.  The Sooners posted eight runs in a single inning against Eastern Illinois (Feb 19 in the sixth inning) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (March 8 in the fourth inning) earlier this season.

OU’s 10-4 lead only lasted until the top of the seventh inning when Kansas posted its own big inning consisting of five runs on six hits, including an inside the park home run by Gus Milner that cleared the bases with two runners on. 

This time around, OU’s P.J. Sandoval gave up the flurry of KU runs, all five runs were earned but Sandoval still recorded his third win of the season (3-1).  Sandoval tied Patterson’s game-high four strikeouts in his 12th appearance on the year.

KU’s Kyle Klem (0-1) took the loss with an unusual line for the game.  The reliever faced four batters and did not record an out after allowing four Sooner runs (one earned) to score on one hit and two walks. 

Rohlinger finished the day with three hits in three at-bats and an RBI while scoring on three occasions.  The junior is now hitting .833 against the Jayhawks this season, collecting five hits and two RBI in his six plate appearances. The success against KU is nothing new for Rohlinger.  In five career games, the West Bend, Wisc., native is hitting .632 (12-for-19) with three RBI.

Chuckie Caufield also had a productive day for OU, returning to his regular leadoff spot after batting in the three-hole in game one of the series.  Caufield extended his hitting streak to eight games (season high) with Saturday’s 3-for-5 day that also saw him score two runs.  The Sooners’ center fielder is hitting .361 (13 hits) with three RBI in the last eight contests.

Caufield, Rohlinger, Kaiser and Thornton accounted for 11 of OU’s 15 hits in the 11-9 victory.  KU’s offense kept pace with OU, collecting 14 hits in the game.  KU has now committed six errors in the series allowing the Sooners to improve their overall mark against the Jayhawks to 91-45 (36-10 at home). 
On the season, Oklahoma improves to 19-11 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 play while Kansas falls to 23-14 and 2-6 in conference action.  OU will throw freshman Brad Burns (2-0, , 3.32 ERA) opposite KU’s Kodiak Quick (7-3, 3.51 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday.  Game time is set for 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Sooners’ flagship station KOKC 1520 AM with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play.


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