FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Oklahoma baseball team came back to top No. 22 TCU, 5-4, on Tuesday at Lupton Stadium after Chuckie Caufield stole home to take the lead in the ninth inning. Daniel McCutchen nailed down his second save of the season after recording a double play (5-4-3) to end the contest. It was the Sooners’ first road win (1-4) of the season and also their first win over a ranked opponent.
After trailing 4-1 for the first seven innings, the Sooners rallied with a single run in the seventh, two more in the eighth to knot things up and then Caufield’s stolen base gave OU the lead.
OU turned the tables on a TCU team that upset the Sooners a year ago, with Tuesday night's win. In 2004, TCU topped Oklahoma in two games (home/away) when the Sooners were ranked in the top 25 on both occassions.
On Tuesday, the Sooners scored first when Joe Dunigan crossed the plate in the third inning on an error (on Russell Raley's at-bat) by TCU’s third baseman, but the Horned Frogs countered with four runs in the bottom half of the frame.
It appeared like OU starting pitcher Ryan Mottern was off to a solid start after striking out three of the first five batters he faced during his first start of the season. However, after walking three consecutive batters in the second inning, Mottern was taken out of the game after aggravating his elbow. Mottern lasted 1.2 innings and allowed zero runs on zero hits while walking four and striking out three. He will be evaluated by a team physician when the team returns to Norman.
John Brownell was next to take the mound for Oklahoma and the right-hander ran into trouble in the third inning. J.J. Estrada blasted a three-run homer to left field and Matt Carpenter hit a solo shot to right-center field to help TCU record four runs on three hits during the frame.
Russell Raley’s at-bat in the top of the seventh produced the Sooners’ second run of the game. Raley’s groundout plated Jackson Williams who walked earlier in the inning.
In the next frame, OU added two more runs to tie up the ball game. During the Sooners’ eighth, Kevin Smith ripped a single through the left side of the infield to bring home Ryan Rohlinger and then Williams grounded into a double-play but the grounder still allowed Eric Thornton to score the game-tying run.
Jared Freeman and P.J. Sandoval performed nicely out of the OU bullpen and held the Horned Frogs’ offense scoreless after the third inning. TCU only recorded three hits after the four-run third inning as Freeman (1.2 innings) struck out two batters and Sandoval added two more punch outs in 3.1 innings to record the win. Sandoval moves to 2-1 on the season and TCU’s Chad Underwood suffered his first loss of the year (3-1).
Caufield's go-ahead run was set up after he doubled to start off the ninth frame and then advanced to third on a Russell Raley sacrifice bunt. The next OU batter, Kody Kaiser, was intentionally walked and with Ryan Rohlinger at the plate, Caufield made his move. Caufield's successful steal of home plate was his team-leading sixth swipe of the season. The Ada, Okla., native was barely thrown out earlier in the game and he has only been caught stealing on two occasions this year.
Caufield, the team's regular leadoff hitter, finished the game with a season-high four hits (5 AB) and helped cap a four-run rally for the Sooners who pulled off their first victory when trailing after seven innings (1-7).
OU improves to 13-8 with Tuesday's victory and the win also snapped a three-game losing streak, while the Horned Frogs fall to 14-8.
The Sooners will have Wednesday to prepare for the Big 12 opener slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday at L. Dale Mitchell Park against No. 14/15 Texas A&M. The two will continue the series on Friday at 7 p.m. and the finale is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start on Saturday.