NORMAN, Okla. For the second time in a week, Chuckie Caufield spawned a rally with a game-tying home run to lead off the sixth.
Only this time his effort was backed with a 10-run frame as the Oklahoma Sooners (33-10) defeated the New Mexico Lobos (27-14), 18-9, at L. Dale Mitchell Park Monday afternoon.
“Before the game...I wanted to make sure our athletes had a chip on their shoulders going in,” OU head coach Sunny Golloway said, “I told them, Now, you’re going to become the target. Now, someone like New Mexico who’s having a good year can go get a win against a Top-10 opponent. Are we going to handle that kind of situation?’ I thought we were able to do that.
“We’re not necessarily the hunter anymore. We’re the hunted.”
OU celebrated its ranking in the top 10 of most major polls, including No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, released today with its 11th-straight victory and a season high in runs scored.
“We wanted to be able to use the bunting game and the skill game,” Golloway said. “It came through to our advantage with a big inning for us that opened things up.”
The Sooners jumped out to a 4-1 courtesy of a well-managed first inning. Ryan Rohlinger plated the first run with a sacrifice fly before Kevin Smith’s two-RBI triple and Freddy Rodriguez’s sacrifice bunt added to the total.
Rohlinger ended the game 3-for-5 with four RBI and one run scored.
The Lobos battled back, however, as the OU pitching staff surrendered six runs over the next five innings.
The sixth proved the end of the Lobos’ hopes as the Sooners bats awoke. OU scored its first four up and Kody Kaiser bombed a bases-loaded, two-out home run that counted three more runs.
Kaiser hit 3-of-4 in the game with three RBI and three runs scored.
The game was a marathon contest, played in 3 hours, 40 minutes in hot, humid conditions.
Aaron Reza extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI bunt single in the sixth frame.
John Brownell (3-0) picked up the win after closing out the sixth.
The current 11-game winning streak is the Sooners best since starting 12-0 in 1998.
Oklahoma returns to the diamond Friday, April 28, against the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence at 7 p.m.