NORMAN, Okla. --After scoring four runs on 13 hits in the first two games of the series against Texas, the Sooner offense put together a 12-run, 12-hit performance on Sunday to claim a 12-7 victory over the Longhorns in the series finale on Sunday. The win moved No. 14 OU’s overall record to 21-9 and its Big 12 mark to 3-3, while the No. 11 Longhorns fell to 21-11 and 6-2. Texas won the series opener on Friday, 2-0, and Saturday's game 9-4.
The offensive performance, which marked the most runs for OU against Texas since it won 14-6 on May 9, 1998 in Norman, was highlighted by OU’s 18th game with 10 or more hits this season. Sunday also marked the tenth time in 2006 that the Sooners scored in double digits.
Kevin Smith, who hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, led the charge and tied a career-high with five RBI on three hits. Ryan Rohlinger drove in three runs on two hits as P.J. Sandoval improved to 4-1. Sandoval had recorded no-decisions in his last two outings and earned his first win on Sunday since March 5 against UC Riverside.
“Our players showed a lot of character and really fought hard today,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “We have not lost a series all season long and we woke up this morning and realized there was no chance to win this series. That is a tough thing to face when you have had success all season long, but Texas is very good and I tip my cap to their athletes and the way they play the game. But I am proud of the way our guys fought to salvage a win and keep our conference record at 3-3.”
After Texas posted one run in the first inning, the Sooners wasted no time in building a comfortable lead. Smith singled through the right side of the infield to plate Chuckie Caufield and Kody Kaiser in the first inning and the next batter, Freddy Rodriguez, connected for a sacrifice fly to right field and scored Ryan Rohlinger from third base.
Despite the Longhorns’ rally in the final five frames courtesy of a season-high five home runs, OU put the game out of reach back in the fourth inning with seven tallies. Each of the seven runs were scored with two outs on the board.
The seven-run fourth frame started with Rodriguez’s single to left field and was followed by a Jackson Williams single and an Aaron Ivey walk. With the bases loaded, Chuckie Caufield reached on a fielder’s chose and Rodriguez was called out at home to record the second out of the inning. OU’s next batter, Aaron Reza was hit by a pitch and that started the flurry of runs. Reza’s RBI was followed by a Kaiser walk (RBI), a Rohlinger double (3 RBI), a Smith single (RBI) and finally ended on Joe Dunigan’s single to center field (RBI).
Nine of OU’s runs came off Texas starter Adrian Alaniz (4-1), who was scheduled to start in game two but pitched in Friday’s game in the ninth to record the save. Alaniz no-hit the Sooners last season in Austin but was tagged for nine runs (eight earned) on Sunday off five hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings tossed.
Sandoval lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs off six hits and two walks. After the starter exited the game in the sixth inning, Will Savage took the mound to pitch two-thirds of an inning before giving way to Ryan Mottern and Brad Burns to close out the game. Mottern lasted 2 1/3 innings and Burns pitched the final two outs in his first appearance in 2006 after off-season shoulder surgery.
Besides Smith and Rohlinger, the Sooners’ Rodriguez and Jackson Williams each added two hits on Sunday. Texas was led by Carson Kainer’s three-hit, two-RBI day at the plate.
Sunday’s win snapped OU’s three-game losing streak and also stopped Texas’ six-game winning streak with the win in front of 2,182 fans at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The attendance for the three-game series totaled 6,552 and marked the highest attended three-game series in Norman since the Longhorns were in town during the 2004 season (6,689).
Up next for OU is a midweek contest at home against UT-Arlington on Tuesday. The game, scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch, will conclude the Sooners' ght game home stand (3-4). After the contest against the Mavericks, OU will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M (18-13, 2-7) for a three-game set.