NORMAN, Okla. -- Coming off a 15-3 victory over No. 1 Rice on Tuesday, the No. 13 Oklahoma baseball team (29-10 overall, 8-4 Big 12) will take its seven-game winning streak into Lubbock, Texas this weekend to battle Texas Tech (26-14-1, 6-7-1) in a three-game conference series. The set kicks off on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed on Saturday with game two, also scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday’s finale is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
This weekend’s games 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 Soonersports.com. A live web cast is also available for the entire series on TexasTech.com.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast by Cox Cable in Lubbock and Cox channel 7 in Oklahoma City (channel 3 in Tulsa) will carry a live feed of the game John Harris (play-by-play) and Ryan Hyatt (color) will provide the on-air talent.
UPDATING THE SOONERS
Oklahoma extended its winning streak to seven games in a big way on Tuesday with a 15-3 win against Rice at L. Dale Mitchell Park in front of 2,657 fans.
Tuesday’s crowd was a season high and also marked the largest attendance at a Sooner home game since May 9, 1998, when 3,168 fans were on hand to witness OU defeat Texas, 14-6.
Joe Dunigan (3-for-5, 2 home runs) and Freddy Rodriguez (4-for-4) powered the offense with three RBI apiece as the Sooners outhit the Owls 14-9. The win avenged an 8-2 loss earlier in the season to the Owls on Feb. 17 and improved OU’s all-time record to 4-2 against Rice.
Ryan Mottern (3-1) recorded the win for the Sooners with 5 1/3 innings pitched, with two runs allowed on six hits and two walks. Mottern also struck out three batters and Will Savage collected his seventh save of the season.
The last time OU defeated the No. 1 team in the nation was during the 2004 season. On March 20 at L. Dale Mitchell Park, the Sooners topped then-No. 1 Texas, 3-2.
NEW MEXICO ADDED TO 2006 SCHEDULE
OU announced Thursday that it will host New Mexico on Monday, April 24 in Norman. First pitch at L. Dale Mitchell Park is scheduled for 3 p.m. The extra game was added to make up for the contest lost on Sunday, March 19 against Arizona State. The finale of that series was cancelled because of rain in Tempe, Ariz. Admission to Monday’s game is free and concession stands will be open.
PLAYER TO WATCH: AARON IVEY
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are the only team in the Big 12 to split two conference series in 2006. In their Big 12 opener, the Red Raiders split the first two games of the Texas series but the finale was rained out and was never made up. Last weekend in Lubbock, Texas Tech hosted Kansas State and again split the first two games of the series only to tie the finale in 10 innings, 11-11, because it was a travel day for KSU.
In their last ten games, the Red Raiders are 5-4-1 and are coming off a 7-2 win over No. 10 Arizona State on Monday at Dan Law Field. The Red Raiders are in the middle of a nine-game home stand, which will conclude on Tuesday with New Mexico.
-Offensively, senior Brian Capps leads the offense with .389 average. Capps, the Red Raiders center fielder, has 22 RBI and trails freshman
Roger Kieschnick, who leads the club with 47 RBI, a mark that also leads the Big 12.
-Freshman, Miles Morgan is expected to get the starting nod on Friday against the Sooners. Morgan is 5-4 this year (2-3 in Big 12) with a 3.69 ERA. In 75 2/3 innings, the hurler leads the Big 12 with 87 strikeouts and only has 18 walks.
-Texas Tech is coached by Larry Hays, who is in his 20th season at the helm with a 756-410-3 (.648) record. In 36 overall seasons as a head coach, Hays is 1,449-791-3 (.647). The Red Raiders return 14 letterwinners and three position starters from a 2005 team that finished eighth in the Big 12 (34-25 overall, 9-16).
-The all-time series with Texas Tech is tied at 21-21-1. Last season, OU swept the Red Raiders at home to end the regular season. The Sooners have won four consecutive games over the Red Raiders dating back to the 2004 Big 12 Championship in Arlington, Texas. In addition, OU has won eight of the last 10 meetings with Texas Tech. However, since Big 12 play began in 1997, Texas Tech leads 18-15-1.
OU will return to Norman to prepare for another three-game road series next weekend. The Sooners will travel to Lawrence, Kan., to take on the Jayhawks in a three-game set from April 28-30. Following the Kansas series, OU will conclude its current seven-game stretch away from home with a May 2 road game at Wichita State.
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 sixth consecutive week, gaining ground in all four polls. For the eighth 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. 23 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 16 in the NCBWA poll. In the USA Today/ESPN poll, OU moved up three spots to No. 13 and Baseball America has the Sooners at No. 15. The last time OU was ranked as high as No. 13 was during the 2004 season. In the Baseball America poll released on April 19 of that year, OU was also the 13th ranked team in the nation. Refer to page six for a complete week-by-week breakdown of the rankings.
OKLAHOMA/BIG 12 RPI’s
Although not official, Boydsworld.com provides a weekly pseudo RPI system. OU is ranked No. 14 in this week’s ranking released on Thursday, April 20. The Big 12 is rated the No. 3 power conference in the nation and is right behind the SEC and ACC. Nebraska comes in at No. 5 and Texas is the only other Big 12 team ahead of OU at No. 6.
NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, released on Tuesday, April 18, Oklahoma was listed as the second-best team in terms of fielding percentage (.983). OU was second to South Carolina (.988). In addition, OU was tied for 17th in terms of winning percentage. Individually, Steven Guerra was tied for fourth in wins (8).
BIG 12 STANDINGS
Below is a look at the Big 12 standings after action on Wednesday, April 19:
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 39 games, OU owns the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.983), has committed the fewest errors (25) and has turned the second-most double plays (34). OU has finished 18 games this season without an error and is 16-2 in those contests (Rice and Memphis).
TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD
In all but one of the first 11 weekends of the 2006 season, OU has come out with at least two wins, including three sweeps (Western Illinois, UC Riverside and Centenary). 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 and Missouri this season.
OU has connected for 123 RBI with two outs on the board in 2006. That accounts for 46 percent of the team’s total of 265 RBI. The team’s top two RBI individuals, Kevin Smith (44) and Ryan Rohlinger (35), each have double-digit RBI with two outs with 24 and 19, respectively. In addition, Kody Kaiser (22) has driven in 11 runs with two out and Aaron Reza (23) and Freddy Rodriguez (21) have both driven in 12 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 (2.92, fourth-best average in the Big 12) and has walked two or fewer batters on 18 occasions this year (OU is 15-3 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 14 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.
SHUTTING OUT THE OPPOSITION
OU leads the Big 12 with five shutouts this season. 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).
CRUCIAL LAST AT-BAT
In addition to the Sooners’ 12 comeback victories this season, six of the games listed above were won on the Sooners last at-bat (Baylor, UTA, A&M and TCU). OU has also won two more games in its final at-bat when the games were tied (March 3 vs. UCR - 10 innings and March 12 vs. Centenary-9 innings). The opposition has also used its last at-bat to find victory against OU (March 17 vs. Arizona State, Memphis and March 24 vs. Baylor).
OU AGAINST RANKED COMPETITION
The Sooners have faced seven 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 7-6 in those contests with wins over 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 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 16 regular season games. (All rankings listed were taken at the time of competition).
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 remaining games that can be seen on television, in addition to the 10 network radio broadcast games.
Date Opponent Time Media at Texas Tech 6:30 p.m. Cox channel 7 (OKC) 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) at Nebraska 2:05 p.m. Cox channel 7 (OKC) Sunday, May 21 at Nebraska 1:05 p.m. KOKC (network)
Saturday, April 22
Saturday, May 20
at Texas Tech
Cox channel 7 (OKC)
Sunday, April 23
at Texas Tech
Sunday, April 30
Sunday, May 7
Friday, May 12
Saturday, May 13
Sunday, May 14
SSN TV/KOKC (network)
Cox channel 7 (OKC)
Sunday, May 21
# 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, 29-10 (.744)
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
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