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OU Set to Battle TCU in Fort Worth
March 06, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. -- Up two spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll this week, the No. 23 Oklahoma baseball team (12-4) will travel south to Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday to battle Texas Christian (8-6).  First pitch at Lupton Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Tuesday’s contest is the first of two games against the Horned Frogs for the Sooners in 2006.  OU will host TCU on April 11 at L. Dale Mitchell Park. 

OU and TCU met in both Norman and Fort Worth last season and the Sooners went 2-0 in those games.  TCU was ranked No. 22 in the first game at Lupton Stadium and fell 5-4 to OU and the Sooners made it 2-for-2 against the ranked Horned Frogs (No. 30) on April 12 in Norman with a 20-10 win.

MEDIA EXPOSURE
Tuesday’s game against the Horned Frogs will be broadcast live with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play on KOKC (1520 AM). Pregame coverage for all Sooner baseball games, begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch.  In addition, live stats for the game can be viewed on Soonersports.com and a free webcast is being provided by GoFrogs.com with the link listed below.

Game Notes (PDF) | Big 12 Notes | Live Stats | Live Video

UPDATING THE SOONERS
The Sooners rebounded after Tuesday’s 12-2 loss to Wichita State with a three-game sweep of visiting UC Riverside over the weekend.
 
OU opened the three-game series with UC Riverside on Friday at L. Dale Mitchell Park and the game quickly became a pitching dual between the Sooners’ Daniel McCutchen and the Highlanders’ James Simmons.  Both teams went scoreless through nine innings and despite the fact that Simmons had 10 strikeouts after seven frames, McCutchen topped the opposition by going the full ten innings and earning his first complete-game shutout.  The Norman native struck out six batters and earned the victory after Ryan Mottern drove in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth. 

After McCutchen set the tone on Friday, Steven Guerra and P.J. Sandoval both lasted five-plus innings to earn victories in their starts on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.    OU scored seven runs in each of the two contests to complete the sweep.  Ryan Rohlinger led all Sooners over the weekend with a .636 batting average (1.091 slugging percentage), which included a solo home run (team-leading third of the season) and two RBI.  Joe Dunigan finished the three-game series against UCR as the team’s leader in RBI with four.  It was the best offensive weekend for the Chicago, Ill., native, who also hit .429 against the Highlanders and connected for two multi-RBI games (third and fourth of his career).   Jackson Williams added three RBI against the Highlanders.

SCOUTING TCU
The Horned Frogs enter Tuesday’s game unranked for the first time this season.  TCU was No. 21 in the Baseball America poll last week but went 2-2 in four games, losing to Dallas Baptist in addition to taking two out of three games against Florida Atlantic.   

After opening the season in impressive fashion at the Houston College Classic with wins over Tulane and Houston, the Frogs have struggled with a 6-6 mark.  Tuesday’s game is the end of an eight-game home stand for TCU, who is 4-4 this season at Lupton Stadium. 

-Offensively,  junior Keith Conlon leads the club with 11 RBI,  two home runs, 29 total bases and is one of six Frogs, who see regular time, batting over .300.  The outfielder ranks second on TCU with a .367 batting average.

-Senior Shawn Ferguson is expected to get his first career start on Tuesday.  The right-hander is 1-1 this season with a 4.91 ERA over 7 1/3 innings pitched.  In Ferguson’s four appearances this season, he has struck out seven batters and walked five.

-TCU is coached by Jim Schlossnagle, who is in his fifth season at the Frogs’ helm and is 165-99 (.625) in that span.   He led TCU to a 20-10 record last year and a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference.  Returning from last year’s team that finished third in the NCAA Waco Regional, are 14 letterwinners and seven position starters.

-TCU and OU have met every year for the past 15 seasons.  Since 1991, OU is 21-8 and leads the all-time series 50-24. 

PLAYER TO WATCH - JACKSON WILLIAMS

Jackson Williams
The Sooners' catcher has six RBI in his last six games.  He ranks second on the team in RBI (12) and batting average (.389).  In addition, the Broken Arrow, Okla., native is second on the team with four multiple RBI games this season. 

WHO’S NEXT
The Sooners will return home for another three-game set, this time against Centenary.  The three-game series will mark the fifth, sixth and seventh time that OU has played at L. Dale Mitchell Park in the last eight games.  The series against the Gents will be carried live via the Internet on Yahoo with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play.

TOP 25
OU moved up two spots in the Collegiate Baseball poll after cracking into the top-25 rankings last week for the fi rst time since being ranked in the preseason polls. The Sooners are No. 23 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and also moved up four spots to No. 26 in the NCBWA poll this week. Refer to page six for a complete week-by-week breakdown.

UC RIVERSIDE LEFTOVERS
The Sooners entered last weekend’s series against UC Riverside with a 3-3 all-time mark against the Highlanders.  The three-game sweep was a first for either team and in the process of topping the Highlanders in three straight games, the Sooners held the opposition scoreless for the first 13 innings of the series.

SOLID START
The 2006 Sooners are off to a 12-4 start and since 1994, the year OU won its last National Championship, only three other OU teams have started off the season with a better record after 16 games.  The 2002 Sooners went 12-4, the 1998 team was 14-2 and the 1994 CWS Championship team started off the season with a 13-3 mark.

BEDLAM BASEBALL TICKETS ON SALE MARCH 8
Bedlam baseball tickets for the two games to be played in Oklahoma City at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark will go on sale Wednesday, March 8.   Tickets for the series opener in Tulsa will go on sale March 18.  Click Here for more information.

BEST IN THE BIG 12
The Sooners knew heading into 2006 that the defense would be solid with all but one position starter returning from 2005.  So far after 16 games, OU owns the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.987) and has turned the most double plays (19) of any school in the conference.

TRUE ROAD GAMES
Even though OU is 6-3 away from L. Dale Mitchell Park, it is only 1-1 in “true” road games this season.  In the UTPA Classic, the Sooners defeated the host Broncs 16-3 and in the Coca Cola Classic, OU dropped an 8-2 decision to then-No. 5 Rice.  OU is 5-2 in the remaining games, all neutral sites, falling to Memphis and Lamar (Feb. 5).

OU AGAINST RANKED COMPETITION
The Sooners have faced four 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 2-2 in those contests, topping Long Beach State (20, 19, 15, 11) and Notre Dame (NR, NR, 22, 27) and falling to Rice (4, 5,4, 2) and Wichita State (NR, NR, 28, 24).  The Sooners will also face eight more ranked teams (Arizona State, Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Rice, Wichita State and Nebraska) later this season listed in this week’s polls, combining for 20 of their final 38 regular season games.   (All rankings listed were taken at the time of competition).

HOME STANDS
The Sooners ended their second longest home stand of the season of four games last weekend.  OU finished 3-1 during the stretch and is 6-1 overall this season at L. Dale Mitchell Park.  The Sooners’ longest home stand comes near the end of the month when Baylor (March 24-26) comes to town for three games, followed by Dallas Baptist (March 28) in a mid-week contest, and concludes with Texas for a three-game set (March 31-April 2).

SCORING EARLY AND OFTEN
OU ranks fourth in the Big 12 in runs scored with 111 and it has recorded 75 percent of those tallies in the second through six innings this season.  The Sooners have crossed the plate 83 times in those five innings, including 21 times in the sixth frame alone.  Additionally, OU has scored first in all but three of its games this season (Texas State, Rice and Indiana State) and is 10-3 when it posts the game’s first run, suffering losses to Wichita State, Lamar on Feb. 5 and Memphis.  Listed on page 13 is a complete breakdown of the Sooners’ runs scored inning-by-inning.

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION
Although early in the season, the 12-4 Sooners have proven that they are an offensive team after recording 10 or more hits in 10 of its 16 games.  Additionally, the Sooner offense has scored double-digit runs on four occasions this season (UTPA, WIU-twice and Lamar-Feb. 18).  OU is averaging 6.9 runs a game and 10.3 hits per game in 2006.   Additionally, eight different Sooners are hitting .300 or better (minimum 20 at-bats) and eight sluggers have seven or more RBI, including four with 10-plus (Caufield, Reza, Smith and Williams).

GOING THE DISTANCE
The Sooners’ offense held the spotlight early in the season, but the starting rotation  on the weekend has been even more impressive.  Seniors Daniel McCutchen, Steven Guerra and P.J. Sandoval have started five games apiece so far in 2006 and have made each start last five innings or more on all but one occasion (2 1/3 innings for Sandoval on Feb. 5 vs. Lamar).  Guerra has pitched six innings or more four times this season, while McCutchen has gone six-plus innings three times and Sandoval has one start over six innings.  In the Sooners’ lone mid-week game this season, Ryan Mottern lasted three innings.

CONSISTENT POSITION STARTERS
The Sooners have used numerous different starting lineups this season, featuring two or more players at every position except right field.   Chuckie Caufield has started all 16 games in right field and is the only Sooner to start every game in 2006.  In addition, Caufield has hit in the leadoff spot in all but one game this season.  The only Sooner close to Caufield’s consistency in the lineup is Kevin Smith.  Smith is the only other Sooner to play in every game this season and he has started 15 games, all at first base.

SMALL BALL
The 2006 Sooners are proving to be a team that has options on offense.  As the team ranks third in the Big 12 in RBI (102), fourth in runs scored (111) and hits (165) and fifth in batting average (.311) this season, it has also shown that productive outs are as important as power.  OU has shown its ability to be successful as a  “small-ball” lineup that can bunt, run and advance runners.  In addition to the power numbers listed above, the Sooners also lead the Big 12 in sacrifices (25-for-26) and they have executed five squeeze bunts out of six, resulting in five runs scored from third base.  OU is also tied for third in the conference in stolen bases (22).

Will Savage
CHART CLIMBERS
Senior hurlers Daniel McCutchen and Will Savage rank in the top ten on OU’s career saves list.  With five saves this season, Savage is alone at the No. 4 spot.Below is a look at where Savage and McCutchen rank all-time:

1. 28 - Jeff Bajenaru (1999-2000)
2. 17 - Jarod McAuliff (2002-04)
3. 14 - Bucky Buckles (1994)
4. 11 - Will Savage (2005-present)
5. 9 - Scott Dean (1981-82)
6. 8 - Geoff Geary (1997-98)
7. 7 - Daniel McCutchen (2004-present) 
    7 - George Frazier (1975-76)
    7 - Matt Ruebel (1989-00)
    7 - Scott Girod (1990)
    7 - Scott Moore (1991-92)

SMALL BALL
The 2006 Sooners are proving to be a team that has options on offense.  As the team ranks fourth in the Big 12 in batting average (.315) and third in runs scored (96) and RBI (89) this season, it has also shown that productive outs are as important as power.  OU has shown its ability to be successful as a  “small-ball” lineup that can bunt, run and advance runners.  In addition to leading the conference in the power numbers listed above, the Sooners also lead the Big 12 in sacrifices (18-for-19) and they have executed four squeeze bunts out of five, resulting in scoring four runs from third base.  OU is also third in the conference in stolen bases (22).

SERVICE ACADEMIES ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Daniel McCutchen and Jackson Williams were honored as part of the 18th Annual Service Academies Classic held last weekend at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.  McCutchen tied a career high with 10 strikeouts against Memphis on Friday, lasting 8 2/3 innings in the defeat, while Williams hit .375 with two RBI.

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS
In the Big 12 Coaches’ preseason poll, the Oklahoma Sooners were picked to finish fifth in the league, the highest prediction since being tabbed third in 2003.  In addition, Collegiate Baseball picked OU to finish fifth and Baseball America has the Sooners finishing seventh in the conference. 

In addition to the preseason rankings within the Big 12, Baseball America tabbed Ryan Rohlinger as an All-Big 12 pick and Daniel McCutchen as one of the conference’s top 2006 prospects and Brad Burns was picked for the 2007 draft.

Finally, Collegiate Baseball named McCutchen, Rohlinger, Kody Kaiser and Will Savage as “players to watch” within the Big 12.

SOONERSPORTS.COM SPECIAL FEATURE
Click here for an article brought to SoonerSports.com from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, a national baseball publication that has been covering the sport since 1958.  The feature story was printed last month in the Jan. 6 issue and spotlights the amazing story of how OU sophomore Kody Kaiser and his uncle, OU head coach Sunny Golloway, were brought together at the University of Oklahoma.

UTPA CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Four Sooners were named to the 18-member All-Tournament Team for  the UTPA Classic held in Edinburg, Texas.  Ryan Rohlinger (4-for-7,  2 RBI), Ryan Mottern (4-for-9, 5 RBI), Chuckie Caufield (7-for-15, RBI) and Steven Guerra (1-0, 3.60 ERA) helped the Sooners to a 2-1 record at the UTPA Classic

BIG 12 COMMISSIONER’S HONOR ROLL
Ten members of the OU baseball team were named to the Fall Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.  Steven Guerra, Joseph Hughes, Aaron Ivey, Kody Kaiser, Ryan Mottern, Russell Raley, Aaron Reza, Ryan Rohlinger, P.J. Sandoval and Cory Williamson made the list.  In order to qualify for the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll a student-athlete must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for the semester.   In addition,   Guerra and Ivey maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for the semester. .

OU BASEBALL ON RADIO AND TV
The University of Oklahoma baseball team released its 2006 radio and internet broadcast schedule on Jan. 31.  The entire 56-game schedule will be broadcast live either on the radio by KOKC (1520 AM) or on the internet via Yahoo. 

Ten of the games will be carried on the Sooners Sports’ Network, which enables fans to listen to OU baseball on the radio state-wide.  For a list of affiliates in Oklahoma, visit the Sooner baseball page on SoonerSports.com.

In addition, the Sooners will also be seen live on television for five games this season.  The coverage begins with the Texas series on March 31-April 2.  That three-game set against the defending national champs will be aired on ESPNU from L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman.  OU can also be seen live on Fox Sports Net for its April 15 game against Missouri.  The Bedlam finale will also be televised by the Sooner Sports Network.  

Below is a look at the games that can be seen on ESPNU, FSN and SSN in addition to the 10 network radio broadcast games.

Date

Opponent

Time

Media

Friday, March 31

Texas

7 p.m.

ESPNU

Saturday, April 1

Texas

5:30 p.m.

ESPNU

Sunday, April 2

Texas

1 p.m.

ESPNU/KOKC (network)

Sunday, April 9

at Texas A&M

1 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Saturday, April 15

at Missouri

3 p.m.

Fox Sports Network

Sunday, April 16

at Missouri

1 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Sunday, April 23

at Texas Tech

1 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Sunday, April 30

at Kansas

1 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Sunday, May 7

Kansas St.

1 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Friday, May 12

vs. OSU#

7:30 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Saturday, May 13

vs. OSU*

8 p.m.

KOKC (network)

Sunday, May 14

vs. OSU*

5 p.m.

SSN TV/KOKC (network)

Sunday, May 21

at Nebraska

1:05 p.m.

KOKC (network)


# game to be played at Drillers Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.
* games to be played at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City

SAVAGE NAMED TO STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Senior pitcher Will Savage was named to the watch list for the 2006 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year award presented to the nation’s top closer.  The list is comprised of 30 closers in Division I baseball, 21 of those players ranked in the top 50 in the nation among saves and nine others were at-large nominations.

Savage became OU’s go-to guy in the bullpen in 2005.  Including the postseason, Savage appeared in 18 of OU’s last 19 games.  After he headed to the bullpen on April 16, Savage made 22 appearances, spanning 46 innings, to close out his year.  In those innings of work, he posted a 2.35 ERA, recorded a 6-1 mark, made six saves, allowed 12 earned runs on 54 hits and seven walks while striking out 19 batters.

FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACHES
Sunny Golloway, OU’s eighth coach in program history, became the fourth consecutive Sooner coach to win his first season opener.  Previous skippers Larry Cochell, Stan Meek and Enos Seymore were all victorious in their debuts.  Below is a look at how the previous seven coaches in OU history have fared in their first year:

Year   Coach, Record (winning %)
1906   Bennie Owen, 10-6 (.625)
1923   Bill Owen, 12-4 (.750)
1927   Lawrence Haskell, 12-5 (.706)
1942   Jack  Baer, 17-7 (.708)
1968   Enos Seymore, 13-14 (.481)
1990   Stan Meek, 31-26 (.544)
1991   Larry Cochell, 40-23 (.635)
2005   Sunny Golloway, 12-4 (.750)

OU PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON BIG 12 POLL
The Oklahoma baseball team was picked fifth in the Big 12 Conference Coaches’ preseason poll as released by the league office.  OU received 44 points in the Big 12 poll, ten points shy of fourth place Baylor. 

 This year’s poll marks the highest preseason prediction within the conference in the last three seasons, after being picked third prior to the 2003 season.

Texas once again topped the list for the fourth straight year with 79 points, including eight first-place votes. Nebraska (70) and Missouri (66) followed as the only other teams to receive a first-place vote with one each. The poll was based on a vote by each of the 10 conference head coaches who were not allowed to cast a vote for their own team in the process.  Following OU was Oklahoma State (41) at No. 6, Texas A&M (36) at No. 7, Texas Tech and Kansas (24) tied at No. 8 and Kansas State (11) rounded out the list at No. 10.

2006 Big 12 Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll

Rank/School (First Place Votes) Points
1. Texas (8) 79
2. Nebraska (1) 70
3. Missouri (1) 66
4. Baylor 54
5. Oklahoma 44
6. Oklahoma State 41
7. Texas A&M 36
8. Kansas 24
8. Texas Tech 24
10. Kansas State 11
* Points based on nine for first place, eight for second, etc. 

GUERRA NAMED TO BROOKS WALLACE LIST
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

RECRUITING CLASS
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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