April 4, 2001

A CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma Looks To Mount A Winning Streak at Missouri

After ending a six-game losing skid on Tuesday with a 9-5 win over TCU, the Oklahoma baseball team (11-22, 5-10 Big 12) will look to extend its good fortunes into this weekend's Big 12 Conference series at Missouri (20-11-1, 7-8 Big 12). The series begins on Friday with a 7 p.m. first pitch at Taylor Stadium/Simmons Field in Columbia, Mo., continues Saturday at 2 p.m. and concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Entering the weekend, Oklahoma stands in ninth place in the conference standings, while Missouri is tied for seventh place in the league. The Sooners will also be looking to fend off a seven-game losing streak in Big 12 action.

Last Time Out

The Oklahoma baseball team rebounded from a recent six-game losing streak to defeat TCU, 9-5, Tuesday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Sooners pounded out 13 hits and four OU hurlers combined to hold the Horned Frogs scoreless after they recorded five early runs in the first three innings. The offensive star of the game for Oklahoma was senior leftfielder Greg Dobbs who went 3-for-4 and fell a single short of hitting for the cycle.

Dobbs' double, which drove in the Sooners' second and third runs of the inning, followed a walk and two-consecutive singles to lead off the bottom half of the first inning. Dobbs would eventually cross the plate in the next at bat, a RBI-double by senior catcher Sean Smith (1-for-4), to score OU's fourth and final run of the inning to give the Sooners a 4-0 lead.

The Moreno Valley, Calif., native continued to stroke the ball in his next at bat and legged out a triple in the bottom of the third frame. Dobbs then scored in the next at bat on an error by the TCU shortstop Levi Robinson (0-for-3), on a ball put in play by Smith, to knot the game at 5-5 after the Horned Frogs spotted three runs in the second inning and two in the third.

Oklahoma regained the lead for good when Dobbs sent a home run, a two-run shot, over the right field fence to extend OU's lead to 7-5.

Senior Austin Coose, who was credited with the win to improve to 3-2 on the year, headlined a group of relievers, including sophomore Brandon Hankins, junior Evan Greusel and freshman Mark Roberts, who combined to hold TCU scoreless over the final 6.2 innings of the contest. The group relinquished only four hits and allowed only one TCU player to get into scoring position during their relief outings.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .292 with 25 home runs and 175 RBIs ... In Big 12 Conference games, the squad is hitting .285 with nine home runs and 67 RBIs ... As of April 2, OU stood in fifth 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 Sooners have posted three-straight double-digit hit efforts ... Junior shortstop Sergio Garcia, senior first baseman John Erick Munneke, senior leftfielder Greg Dobbs and senior centerfielder Jerome Godsey each batted .412 or better over the four games last week ... Each player had at least two multi-hit performances to propel them during the week ... Garcia led the group by batting .471 (8-for-17) and added 3 runs scored and three RBIs ... Dobbs' home run on Tuesday versus TCU was the first round tripper hit by a Sooner in six games and the senior leftfielder's first in 25 games.

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.80 ERA and has allowed 184 earned runs in 285.1 innings pitched ... In Big 12 Conference games only, the staff owns a 6.12 ERA with 87 earned runs given up in 128.0 innings pitched ... As of April 2, OU stood in 10th place in the Big 12 in staff ERA and ninth in league games only ... Brandon Hankins turned in the staff's top pitching performance for the week ... The sophomore righthander made two relief appearances and threw 5.2 innings, gave up four hits and only one run.

DIAMOND NOTES

* Last week's postponed contest against Oral Roberts has been officially cancelled due to limited scheduling availability in the remainder of OU's schedule.

* Sophomore Brandon Hankins worked a career-high 4.2 innings against No. 8 Nebraska on Saturday. After giving up two hits and allowing three runs to score upon entering the game in relief, Hankins held the Cornhusker offense to two hits and no runs over the next four frames.

* All three of John Erick Munneke's hits last weekend went for doubles. The senior first baseman went 3-for-7 (.429) with two runs scored and one RBI in two starts over the weekend.

* Senior centerfielder Jerome Godsey tied a career high in hits with four against Nebraska on Saturday.

* Junior shortstop Sergio Garcia continues to lead the team in hitting during Big 12 Conference games with a .411 batting average. Garcia batted .417 (5-for-12) this weekend against the 'Huskers with a run scored and two RBIs.

* Two of OU's most consistent hitters this season have been seniors Jason Bartlett and Greg Dobbs. Bartlett has only gone hitless in five games, while Dobbs is hitless in only four and neither player has not gone for more than two games without a hit.

MORE ON OKLAHOMA

Just Short Of The Cycle

Greg Dobbs fell just short of accomplishing one of the rare individual feats in baseball on Tuesday night against TCU. The senior leftfielder collected a double, triple and home run in the game, but failed to pick up a single to complete the hitting cycle. After recording the three extra-base hits in his first three at bats, Dobbs walked and struck out in his final two at bats.

On the night, Dobbs' three hits tied a team game-high as he also led the squad in runs scored with three and RBIs with four. His runs scored and RBI total tied season highs for the senior.

Streaking Infielders

Junior shortstop Sergio Garcia and senior third baseman Jason Bartlett are both currently riding hitting streaks of nine games or more. Garcia is on a 10-game streak, which is the second-best individual stretch on the team this year, while Bartlett is on a nine-game streak, one game short of tying his career best set last season.

Garcia is batting .462 (18-for-39) during his streak with five runs scored and eight RBIs. Six of the 10 games were multi-hit performances by the Paramount, Calif., native.

Bartlett is hitting at a .308 clip (12-for-39) over his stretch of games in which he has also compiled eight runs scored, four RBIs and four extra-base hits.

In A League Of His Own

Sergio Garcia has turned it on offensively this season during Big 12 Conference play. The junior shortstop, who has compiled seven multi-hit efforts in conference action, has gone hitless only once in 15 conference games this season and has compiled a .411 batting average in league games only, which tops the team.

He also leads the club in Big 12 games in RBIs with 16, slugging percentage (.500) and on-base percentage (.459). Garcia's numbers also rank among the Big 12's best in league games only in hits (third - 23), RBIs (tied for second) and on-base percentage (ninth).

Baseball Diamond Of The Year Award

The University of Oklahoma baseball program was awarded the top honor in the collegiate division of the Beam Clay Baseball Diamond of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by Beam Clay and Baseball America, recognizes the best playing surfaces in three levels of baseball: professional, college and schools, municipalities and parks. The honor marks the second year in a row that OU's L. Dale Mitchell Park has placed as one of the best college baseball fields in the nation after finishing second in the competition last year.

AT THE PLATE: MISSOURI

Scouting The Tigers

Missouri (20-11-1, 7-8 Big 12) is not only one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 Conference right now, but also in the nation. The Tigers have won 17 of their last 21 games and have won their last three conference series, taking two of three from Texas Tech, nationally-ranked Nebraska and Kansas.

Mizzou is averaging .279 at the plate with 204 runs scored and 15 homers on the season. Senior outfielder Jon Williams leads all regular players with a .385 batting average. Williams also tops the squad in RBIs (31), total bases (66), slugging percentage (.564) and on-base percentage (.441).

On the basepaths, the Tigers have already stolen 55 bases in 32 games this season. Sophomore outfielder Jayce Tingler leads four other players that have swiped five or more bases this year with 11 steals.

The Missouri pitching staff has currently registered a 3.96 ERA and has given up only 122 earned runs in 277.1 innings pitched. The projected starters for this weekend are sophomore righthander Drew Endicott (2-4, 5.55 ERA, 34 K) on Friday, senior lefthander Mitch Kiler (1-2, 5.19 ERA, 21 K) on Saturday and freshman righthander Shaun Marcum (2-0, 3.82 ERA, 18 K) for the series finale on Sunday.