AUSTIN, Texas -- The Sooners and the No. 1 Longhorns battled it out for fourth place in the Big 12 Conference on Friday at Disch-Falk Park and provided a pitchers’ duel with Texas coming out on top, 2-0, following a two-run blast by Drew Stubbs in the tenth inning. The homer spoiled what was a spectacular pitching performance by OU’s Daniel McCutchen.
The two teams battled it out for 9.5 scoreless innings before pinch hitter Clay Van Hook reached on a throwing error by Ryan Rohlinger. He was then sacrificed over to second base on Robby Hudson’s bunt and stayed there after Calvin Beaman struck out looking. Beaman’s strikeout would have been the third out of the inning, but instead Stubbs drove the first offering from John Brownell over the left-field fence.
Both runs were unearned as Brownell suffered a tough loss for OU on Stubbs’ fifth game-winning RBI of the season (team high). The Sooners have not had luck all season when entering extra innings, tonight's loss drops OU to 0-3. The Sooners also lost 13-10 in 12 innnings against Northwestern State and suffered a 7-5 decision in 10 innings to Texas A&M (both at home).
The Sooners’ offense could not capitalize on the few opportunities it produced as it stranded seven base runners. Kevin Smith provided the lone offensive bright spot as he extended his hitting streak to seven games with a 3-for-4 performance.
OU has now lost 11 straight contests in Austin as the Sooners fell to 20-13 overall on the season and 5-5 in Big 12 play. Texas improves to 30-6 overall and 7-5 in conference action. Texas is now in sole possession of fourth place in the Big 12 standings and OU will fall to no worse than the fifth slot.
McCutchen, who made just his second start of the season, was highly effective as he recorded a career-high ten strikeouts. McCutchen had not started a game since the second contest of the season for OU on Feb. 12 in Surprise, Ariz. against then-No. 12 Arizona State.
On Friday, the hard-throwing righty put together the best outing by an OU hurler this season. McCutchen blanked the Longhorns in his nine innings on the mound, just the second time an OU starter lasted into the ninth (Steven Guerra vs. Texas A&M), and posted the most strikeouts by a Sooner this season while walking just one batter (also hit a batter).
“We got more out of McCutchen tonight than we could have ever asked,” said head coach Larry Cochell. “He was outstanding against the No. 1 team in the nation, but we could not get the key hits when we needed it.”
Kyle McCulloch made the start for Texas and lasted eight innings of shutout ball. The Longhorns’ ace scattered six hits and three walks while striking out three Sooners.
McCulloch’s performance made way for UT closer J.B. Cox who allowed a two-out double down the left-field line by Kevin Smith in the ninth, but after the Sooners’ first baseman made his way to third on a wild pitch, he was left stranded following a called strike three on Jackson Williams.
It was the second time Smith was stranded in scoring position in the game. In the fifth frame, Smith led off the inning with a double and no outs, but three consecutive ground outs ended OU’s best chance to score.
Cox, who has now pitched 11 straight shutout innings, recorded the win to improve to 5-1.
Chuckie Caufield was one of four other Sooners to collect a single hit, besides Smith, in the game (Rohlinger, Eric Thornton and Rodriguez) and the base knock helped him extend his hitting streak to 11 games (current team best). OU out hit UT, 7-5, in the game but the two errors proved to be the difference.
The Sooners continue the series with the Longhorns in Austin on Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net, Cox Channel 37, and will feature OU’s Steven Guerra (4-2, 3.58 ERA) opposite UT’s Adrian Alaniz (2-0, 2.14 ERA). The series finale on Sunday can be seen on ESPN2, Cox Channel 28, with a scheduled noon first pitch.