NORMAN, Okla. -- Coming off an 18-9 victory over New Mexico on Monday, the No. 8 Oklahoma baseball team (33-10 overall, 11-4 Big 12) will take its 11-game winning streak into Lawrence, Kansas this weekend to battle No. 30 Kansas (30-16, 9-9) in a three-game conference series.
The set kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m. and will be followed on Saturday with game two, scheduled for 6 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.
UPDATING THE SOONERS
For the second time in a week, Chuckie Caufield spawned a rally with a game-tying home run to lead off the sixth inning on Monday against New Mexico. Only this time, Caufield’s effort was backed with a 10-run frame as the Sooners defeated the Lobos, 18-9, at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
OU celebrated its ranking in the top 10 of most major polls, including No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, released Monday with its 11th-straight victory and a season high in runs scored.
The Sooners jumped out to a 4-1 courtesy of a well-managed first inning. The Lobos battled back, however, as the OU pitching staff surrendered six runs over the next five innings. The sixth proved the end of the Lobos’ hopes as the Sooners bats awoke, including a Kody Kaiser bombed a two-out home run that plated three more runs.
Rohlinger ended the game 3-for-5 with four RBI and one run scored. Kody Kaiser went 3-of-4 in the game with three RBI and three runs scored and Aaron Reza extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI bunt single in the sixth frame.
John Brownell (3-0) picked up the win after closing out the sixth frame. OU used six pitchers in the game, including starter Ryan Mottern who lasted 4 1/3 innings in his fifth start of 2006.
PLAYER TO WATCH: AARON REZA
Modesto Junior College has started 34 games in his first season at Oklahoma.
The Kansas Jayhawks enter this weekend’s series with a 7-3 mark in their last ten games. Included in that span is the Jayhawks last Big 12 series, a 2-1 win over Kansas State in Manhattan. After dropping the finale in that three-game set, KU has rebounded to win its last two games with a 6-0 victory over Southeast Missouri State and a 9-1 win over Creighton (one hitter).
The Jayhawks, ranked No. 30 in this week’s NCBWA poll, are 15-2 at home this season at Hoglund Park. Both defeats came at the expense of a Big 12 foe (Missouri and Texas Tech).
-Offensively, a duo of seniors lead the team. Senior Jared Schweitzer is tops among batting averages with a .356 clip. Schweitzer also has seven homers and 25 RBI. Senior Gus Milner is the club’s top RBI hitter with 49, one behind OU’s Kevin Smith. In addition, Sophomore John Allman has played a major role in KU’s offense this year. Allman is second on the team in batting average (.354) and third in RBI (35). Allman’s numbers get even better in Big 12 play where h is hitting a team-best .431 and is tied for the team lead with 14 RBI.
-Junior, Sean Land is expected to get the starting nod on Friday against the Sooners. The lefty is 4-6 this year (0-4 in Big 12) with a 5.03 ERA. In 59 innings, the hurler has 32 strikeouts opposite 21 walks. Senior Don Czyz (5-0, 1.21 ERA) leads the nation with 15 saves.
-Kansas is coached by Ritch Price, who is in his fourth season at the helm with a 133-106-1 (.563) record. In 12 overall seasons as a head coach, Price is 350-331-2 (.513). The Jayhawks return 17 letterwinners and seven position starters from a 2005 team that finished seventh in the Big 12 (36-28 overall, 11-15).
-OU leads the all-time series with Kansas 135-79-1 . Last season, OU took two out of three games played at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Sooners have won five of the last six games and since Big 12 play began in 1997, they have only dropped one series to the Jayhawks (1-2 at home in 2003). In the last nine years, OU is 20-7 against KU, including a 9-3 record in Lawrence, Kan.
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 seventh consecutive week, gaining ground in all four polls. For the ninth 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. 14 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 10 in the NCBWA poll. In the USA Today/ESPN poll, OU moved up five spots to No. 8 and Baseball America has the Sooners at No. 10. Refer to page six for a complete week-by-week breakdown of the rankings.
OU HISTORY IN TOP 25 POLLS
The last time OU was ranked as high as No. 8 was during the 1998 season (No. 8 by Collegiate Baseball on March 16). In the USA Today/ESPN poll released on March 16 of that year, OU was the No. 7 ranked team in the nation. The 1998 team was ranked as high as No. 3 (CB) on March 9.
OKLAHOMA/BIG 12 RPI’s
Although not official, Boydsworld.com provides a weekly pseudo RPI system. OU is ranked No. 9 in this week’s ranking released on Thursday, April 27. The Big 12 is rated the No. 3 power conference in the nation and is right behind the ACC and SEC. Nebraska comes in at No. 5 and Texas is the only other Big 12 team ahead of OU at No. 8.
NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, released on Tuesday, April 25, Oklahoma was listed as the best team in terms of fielding percentage (.984). In addition, OU was tied for 10th in terms of winning percentage (.762). Individually, Steven Guerra has the second most ins in the nation (8). Twelve pitchers across the nation have nine wins and 19 others have eight victories. The rankings did not include OU’s game against New Mexico on Monday.
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 43 games, OU owns the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.983), has committed the fewest errors (28) and has turned the second-most double plays (39). OU has finished 20 games this season without an error and is 18-2 in those contests (Rice and Memphis).
BIG 12 STANDINGS
Below is a look at the Big 12 standings after action on Wednesday, April 26:
TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T BAD
In all but one of the first 12 weekends of the 2006 season, OU has come out with at least two wins, including five sweeps (Western Illinois, UC Riverside, Centenary, Missouri and Texas Tech). 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, Missouri and Texas Tech this season.
OU has connected for 139 RBI with two outs on the board in 2006. That accounts for 46 percent of the team’s total of 301 RBI. The team’s top two RBI individuals, Kevin Smith (50) and Ryan Rohlinger (41), each have double-digit RBI with two outs with 26 and 21, respectively. In addition, Kody Kaiser (27) has driven in 14 runs with two out and Aaron Reza (26) and Freddy Rodriguez (24) have both driven in 14 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 (2.93, fourth-best average in the Big 12) and has walked two or fewer batters on 20 occasions this year (OU is 17-3 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 15 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 is tied for the Big 12 in shutouts with five this season (Nebraska and Missouri). 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).
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 three more teams ranked in this week’s polls (Kansas, Wichita State and Nebraska) later on this season, combining for seven of their final 13 regular season games. (All rankings listed were taken at the time of competition).
SCORING EARLY AND OFTEN
OU is ranked third in the Big 12 (overall games) in runs scored with 324 and it has recorded 62 percent of those tallies in the second through six innings this season. The Sooners have crossed the plate 202 times in those five innings, including 48 times in the sixth frame alone. Additionally, OU has scored first in all but 17 of its games this season and is 23-3 when it posts the game’s first run, suffering losses to Wichita State, Lamar on Feb. 5 and Memphis. Listed on page 14 is a complete breakdown of OU’s runs scored inning-by-inning.
TRUE ROAD GAMES
Even though OU is 14-5 when playing away from L. Dale Mitchell Park and 9-3 in “true” road games this season. In the UTPA Classic, the Sooners defeated the host Broncs 16-3 and in the Coca Cola Classic, they dropped an 8-2 decision to then-No. 5 Rice. OU topped UT-Arlington and TCU in mid-week games, split two games at ASU, swept Texas A&M and most recently swept Texas Tech. OU is 5-2 in the remaining games, all neutral sites, falling to Memphis and Lamar (Feb. 5).
EXTRA BASE HITS
OU has recorded two or more extra base hits in all but 10 games this season (LBSU, Memphis, Indiana State, UC Riverside-GM1, Baylor-GM1, Texas-GM1 and GM2, Texas A&M-GM1 and GM2 and Missouri-GM1). OU is 24-5 when it records two or more extra base hits in a game. The Sooners’ season high for extra base hits in a game is seven. That feat was accomplished against Arizona State in game two of the series. In that contest, OU connected for five doubles and two home runs.
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 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, May 20
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, 33-10 (.767)
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