April 20, 2001

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A CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA

Texas Tech Comes To Town For Weekend Series

The Texas Tech (30-14, 13-8 Big 12) Red Raiders ride into Norman for a weekend series against the Oklahoma Sooners (15-26, 9-12 Big 12). The three-game set begins on Friday at 7 p.m., continues on Saturday at 6 p.m. and concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will be held at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman. Saturday's featured game promotion will be Oklahoma baseball license plate holders given away to the first 500 fans through the gate.

Entering this weekend, OU sits tied for seventh place in the Big 12 Conference standings with Iowa State and Texas Tech owns sole possession of the fourth spot.

Last Time Out

The Oklahoma baseball team forced 14th-ranked Arizona State into extra innings before falling 5-3 in 11 innings Wednesday night in game two of the Farm Bureau Insurance Baseball Bash held at the Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark. With the game tied at three, Sooner hurler Matt Sorensen (1-3) loaded the bases with two outs on a fielder's choice and two walks before giving up a two-RBI single to ASU shortstop Dennis Wyrick (2-for-4) to score the winning runs in the top of the 11th inning.

Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth frame, Oklahoma scored the tying run when junior designated hitter Charlie Frasier (1-for-4) singled home senior third baseman Jason Bartlett (1-for-5), who reached base on a single with one out at the beginning of the inning.

ASU starting pitcher Mike Esposito and OU pitcher Michael Bradbury engaged in a pitcher's dual through the first half of the game. Esposito had the upper hand in the beginning carrying a slim 1-0 lead, after an early first inning run for the Sun Devils, until the fourth and fifth innings when the Sooners got on the scoreboard with a run in each frame to take a 2-1 lead.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .294 with 32 home runs and 219 RBIs ... In Big 12 Conference games, the squad is hitting .299 with 16 home runs and 104 RBIs ... As of April 19, OU stood in sixth place in the Big 12 in hitting and ranked fourth in hitting in conference games only ... OU has pounded out the fifth-most home runs of all the team's in the league ... The team's leading hitter over the last week was Jason Bartlett ... The senior third baseman batted .400 (8-for-20) with six runs scored and two RBIs ... Bartlett and freshman second baseman Matt Fisher both hit at a .500 clip during the Kansas State series ... Senior leftfielder Greg Dobbs leads the team in seven offensive categories including batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, RBIs, doubles and total bases ... Among the Big 12 Conference leaders: Dobbs - batting average (second), hits (third), RBIs (t-fifth), doubles (t-eighth) and total bases (fourth), Jerome Godsey - batting average (20th), Charlie Frasier - home runs (t-fifth).

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.34 ERA and has allowed 212 earned runs in 357.1 innings pitched ... In Big 12 Conference games only, the staff owns a 5.35 ERA with 107 earned runs given up in 180.0 innings pitched ... As of April 19, OU stood in ninth place in the Big 12 in staff ERA and eighth in league games only ... Through five games last week, the pitching staff posted a 3.60 ERA and allowed only 18 earned runs in 45 innings of work ... It marked the second-consecutive week that the staff combined for an ERA of less than four for an entire week ... Sophomore Austin Mix picked up his first victory of the season and his second complete game of the season in the Sooners' 6-2 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday ... Mix has accounted for both of the staff's complete games this season ... Among the Big 12 Conference leaders: Rocky Cherry - wins (t-sixth), Mix - strikeouts (third) and innings pitched (sixth), Mark Roberts - saves (t-ninth) and appearances (t-third), Austin Coose - appearances (t-third), Brandon Hankins - appearances (seventh).

DIAMOND NOTES

* Game time for Saturday's contest versus Texas Tech has been moved to 6 p.m. due to the football team's Red-White scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.

* The Sooner offense has recorded double-digits in the hits column in eight of its last 11 contests.

* Oklahoma dropped its first Big 12 Conference series to Kansas State since 1996.

* Sophomore Austin Mix picked up his first win of the season on Sunday at Kansas State. Mix tied a career high with 11 strikeouts and tossed his second complete game of the season in the 6-2 Sooner victory.

* Freshman second baseman Matt Fisher registered two multi-hit performances in Sunday's doubleheader at Kansas State, including a career-high three hits in game two.

* Senior third baseman Jason Bartlett collected a hit in every game last week, including three multi-hit efforts, in leading the team offensively over the four games with a .467 batting average.

* Chris Haggard, who was hitless in his last 18 at bats (covering a span of 15 games), collected two hits in six at bats last weekend at Kansas State. The junior made a start behind the plate in game one and served as the starting designated hitter in game two of Sunday's doubleheader.

MORE ON OKLAHOMA

Back On Track

After a brief three game rest from starting duties due to recurring shoulder soreness, senior catcher Sean Smith has started the last 10 games and is one of the Sooners' leading offensive stars over that stretch. Smith batted .361 (13-for-36) during the nine game stint and scored six runs and drove in 10 more. The Coppell, Texas, native also belted his fourth home run on the season, good for the third-top individual total on the team, in Oklahoma's 6-2 win at Kansas State on Sunday.

His performance since returning to the regular starting lineup has helped raise his batting average, which had dipped to .270 prior to his three-game absence, 30 points. On the year, Smith is batting .306 with 16 runs scored and 22 RBIs.

On The Verge

Junior Rocky Cherry is three appearances shy of breaking Oklahoma's all-time appearances record of 68. Cherry currently sits in sole possession of third place on the list with 66 career appearances. The all-time mark is owned by Casey Mendenhall who pitched for OU from 1990-1992.

The righthander has averaged 26 appearances over his first two seasons with the Sooners and his 31 outings last season stand as fourth-best on the school's single-season appearances list.

AT THE PLATE: TEXAS TECH

Scouting The Red Raiders

Texas Tech (30-14, 13-8 Big 12) heads into Norman on a hot streak after winning its last eight-straight games. The Red Raiders' stretch of wins includes sweeps of Big 12 Conference foes Iowa State and Texas A&M and single game victories over TCU and West Texas A&M.

TTU has won all season long with a powerful mix of solid hitting and pitching. Offensively, the Red Raiders are batting .313 with 49 home runs and 370 runs scored, all totals good for second best in the Big 12. At the plate, junior outfielder Austin Cranford leads the team with a .388 average, while junior infielder Nick Blankenship is not far behind with a .379 average and team-leading figures of 10 home runs and 49 RBIs.

On the mound, Texas Tech boasts two of the leagues top pitchers in junior righthander Chris Phillips and senior righthander Brandon Roberson. Phillips leads a staff, which owns a 4.08 ERA with 297 strikeouts, with 10 wins. Phillips and Roberson have combined to toss all of the staff's nine complete games on the season, including Phillips with five and Roberson with four.

Roberson is projected to start on Friday night, Phillips on Saturday night and Sunday's starter has yet to be determined.