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No. 21 Baseball at UT-Arlington Tuesday
March 14, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 21 Sooners will look to extend their seven-game winning streak on Tuesday, March 14 against UT-Arlington. 

The contest will get underway at 6:30 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark between the Sooners (16-4) and the Mavs (7-13).  
 
OU leads the all-time series 14-8 after snapping UTA’s six-game winning streak over the Sooners last year.  The two have played each other every year since 1997.

MEDIA EXPOSURE
Tuesday’s games against UT-Arlington will be broadcast live on the Sooners’ flagship station, 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 Soonersports.com. 

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

UPDATING THE SOONERS
Oklahoma went 4-0 last week and has won seven straight games in addition to completing its third series sweep of 2006 on Sunday over Centenary at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Earlier in the week, OU traveled to Fort Worth, Texas and defeated TCU 10-5 at Lupton Stadium.    In the game, Ryan Mottern set a career high with five strikeouts and tossed the second longest outing of his career (five innings).  Ryan Rohlinger went 3-for-5 and tied a career-high with four RBI.

OU opened the three-game series against Centenary on Friday in Norman and got another solid performance from Daniel McCutchen (4-2) and its offense (17 runs, 16 hits) en route to a 17-6 victory.  Thirteen different Sooners had base hits in the game, including Kevin Smith, who went 2-for-4 with four RBI. 

Saturday’s contest saw more of the same as OU tied a season high with 18 hits and shut out the Gents, 12-0, thanks to six solid innings from Steven Guerra (6-0).  Guerra received plenty of run support as Freddy Rodriguez led OU with three hits and six other Sooners collected two base knocks in the game.

OU was cruising in Sunday’s finale with a 6-2 lead until the Gents tied things up at six runs apiece in the eighth inning.  Will Savage blanked Centenary in the ninth inning and Chuckie Caufield hit an RBI-single through the right side of the infield with no outs in the ninth to complete the sweep. 

SCOUTING UT-ARLINGTON
The Mavs enter Tuesday’s contest at 7-13 and with a three-game winning streak.  The winning ways came after UTA was on a five-game skid.  The Mavs have played a challenging schedule in 2006, playing six games against ranked teams (3 - Arkansas, 2 - Baylor, Hawaii).  The Mavs were victorious in one of those games, a 15-9 victory over then-No. 24 Hawaii.  In addition, UTA has played Kansas State (L, 13-3), Texas A&M (L, 14-3) and Texas Tech (L, 15-7).

In its last outing, UTA completed a three-game series sweep of visiting Northwestern State.  The Mavs won game one (10-9) and followed that up with wins of 14-1 and 6-1 in games two and three, respectively.   The Mavs are 3-2 this season on the road with wins coming at Hawaii and at Louisiana Tech.

-Offensively, junior Adam Moore leads UTA in batting average (.395), home runs (5), RBI (19), on-base percentage (.511) and slugging percentage (.711).  Against Northwestern State last weekend, the catcher went 7-for-12 (.583) and drove in five runs.

-Redshirt freshman Austin Bridges is expected to get the start for UTA on the mound.  The left-hander is 2-2 this year in five appearances (four starts).  He has allowed 10 runs over 21 innings (4.29 ERA) this season and has eight strikeouts opposite 13 walks. 

The last time OU faced a left-handed starter was on last Friday against Centenary.  The Sooners chased Brandon Fulenchek out of the game after 1 1/3 innings after he allowed five runs on six hits and zero walks.  OU is hitting .392 versus left-handed pitching this season.

-UTA is coached by Jeff Curtis, who is in his fifth season at the Mavs’ helm and is 131-125 (.512) in that span.   He led the Mavs to a 26-32 record last year and a fifth-place finish in the Southland Conference.  Returning from last year’s team are five letterwinners and two position starters.

-OU leads the all-time series 14-8 after snapping UTA’s six-game winning streak, which started in 2002, over the Sooners last year.  The two have played each other every year since 1997.   That season was the beginning of an eight-game winning streak for the Sooners, which ended in 2002. 

WHO’S NEXT
The Sooners will continue its four-game stretch of contests played away from L. Dale Mitchell Park.  OU faces one of the tougher road tests of the season with a three-game set at No. 11 Arizona State.  The ASU series will be aired by KOKC (1520 AM) with Chuck Kelly on the play-by-play, unless there is a conflict with the OU basketball teams playing in the NCAA Tournament.  In the case of a conflict, the baseball game can be heard on the internet via Yahoo.

PLAYER TO WATCH - FREDDY RODRIGUEZ

Freddy Rodriguez
The Sooners’ shortstop hit .455 and connected for three RBI in the three-game series against Centenary over the weekend.  Rodriguez's current .321 batting average is sixth best on the team and his nine RBI ranks eighth.

TOP 25
For the first time since April 19, 2004, the Oklahoma baseball team (16-4 overall) was ranked in each of the four major polls in collegiate baseball.  For the third consecutive week, OU was ranked in the top 30 by both Collegiate Baseball magazine and the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s (NCBWA) polls.  The Sooners were as high as No. 23 in the Collegiate Baseball poll released on March 6 and moved up two spots this week.  OU is also No. 21 in the NCBWA poll (up five spots) and is ranked No. 24 in both the USA Today/ESPN and Baseball America polls as announced on March 13.  Refer to page six for a complete week-by-week breakdown.

SOLID START
The 2006 Sooners are off to one of the best starts in the program’s last 30 years.  Since 1976, only the 1981 and 1985 Sooners (19-1) held a better mark after the first 20 games of the season.  Additionally, the 1984 and 1998 teams also started off their respective seasons at 16-4.  Each of those teams finished with 40-plus wins; 1981 (40-15), 1984 (42-15), 1985 (55-14) and 1998 (42-20).

WINNING STREAK
The Sooners are currently riding a season-high, seven-game winning streak thanks to good hitting and solid pitching.  During the seven games, OU is hitting .350 as a team with 18 doubles, five home runs and 55 RBI.  Ryan Rohlinger leads the offensive charge during the streak, with a .480 batting average, three doubles, two homers and nine RBI.  Additionally, the pitching staff has a 3.38 ERA, allowing 24 earned runs over 64 IP on 62 hits and 27 walks.  The hurlers have struck out 53 batters in the span.  Steven Guerra (0.75 ERA) and Daniel McCutchen (2.20 ERA) are both 2-0 during the winning streak.

EXTRA BASE HITS
The Sooners have recorded two or more extra base hits in all but four games this season (LBSU, Memphis, Indiana State and game one vs. UC Riverside).  The Sooners’ season high for extra base hits in a game is six, achieved in both the UTPA game (2 2B, 1 3B, HR) and game two of the Western Illinios series (4 2B, 2 3B).

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 20 games, OU owns the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.986) and has turned the most double plays (21) of any school in the conference.

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 teams ranked in this week’s polls (Arizona State, Baylor, Texas, Kansas, Kansas State, Rice, Wichita State and Nebraska) later on this season, combining for 20 of their final 36 regular season games.  (All rankings listed were taken at the time of competition).

SCORING EARLY AND OFTEN
OU is ranked second in the Big 12 in runs scored with 157 and it has recorded 70 percent of those tallies in the second through six innings this season.  The Sooners have crossed the plate 111 times in those five innings, including 28 times in the sixth frame alone.  Additionally, OU has scored first in all but four of its games this season (Texas State, Rice, Indiana State and Centenary-3) and is 13-3 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.

TRUE ROAD GAMES
Even though OU is 7-3 away from L. Dale Mitchell Park, it is only 2-1 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.  Most recently, the Sooners topped TCU last Tuesday.  OU is 5-2 in the remaining games, all neutral sites, falling only to Memphis and Lamar (Feb. 5).

HOME STANDS
The Sooners ended their second longest home stand of the season of four games after the UC Riverside series.  OU finished 3-1 during the stretch and is 9-1 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).

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION
Although early in the season, the 16-4 Sooners have proven that they are an offensive team after recording 10 or more hits in 14 of its 20 games.  Additionally, the Sooner offense has scored double-digit runs on seven occasions this season (UTPA, WIU-twice, Lamar-Feb. 18, TCU and Centenary-twice).  OU is averaging 7.85 runs a game and 11 hits  per game in 2006.   Additionally, eight different Sooners are hitting .300 or better (min. 30 at-bats) and seven sluggers have 10 or more RBI, including four with 15-plus (Caufield, Reza, Rohlinger, and Smith).

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

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 sits alone in 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. 10 - 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)

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, 16-4 (.800)

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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