Sooners Bow Out of Big 12 Tournament

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MAY 26, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma (33-24) was ousted from the 2005 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament by Nebraska (47-13), 6-3, on Thursday afternoon at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. OU lost the opening round game to Missouri, 8-7, on Wednesday night.

OU, seeded fifth in the tourney, battled back on Thursday from two deficits to even things up, but a two-run sixth inning by the nation’s No. 4 team sealed the defeat. The Sooners left eight men on base in the contest.

Box Score - Nebraska 6, OU 3

Alex Gordon provided Nebraska with the bulk of their offense as he went 2-for-4, with two RBI, including a solo homer to lead off the seventh inning. On the Husker mound, ace Joba Chamberlain (8-2) held OU’s offense at bay as he worked seven innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits and two walks.

The Sooners now wait on word from the NCAA Baseball Tournament selection committee. The 64-team bracket will be revealed on Monday, May 30 and ESPN (Cox 29) will present "The Road to Omaha" at 10:30 a.m. (CT).

"Today was a tail of Chamberlain, he hit his spots very well," said interim head coach Sunny Golloway. "This has been an emotional season for our team and I think we still deserve to get in (NCAA Tournament) since we have worked hard. But I know that there are other schools that have done the same and I trust the committee will do what they think is best."

Despite a solid effort from OU starter Garrett Patterson (6-3), Nebraska scored five runs (four earned) on his watch. Patterson struck out seven batters in five innings of work, but allowed seven hits and three walks.

Nebraska posted the game’s first run on an error by second baseman Ryan Rohlinger, who threw a potential force out to Freddy Rodriguez, covering second, into the outfield. Rohlinger, OU’s everyday third baseman, has been playing second base for the last five games in place of junior Russell Raley, who has been sitting out with a stress fracture in his right ankle. The errant throw allowed Joe Simokaitis to score from first base. Simokaitis reached base earlier in the frame on a one-out walk.

OU made its first comeback in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out, clutch single that found its way through the right side of the infield off of Freddy Rodriguez’s bat. Rodriguez, OU’s hottest hitter, came up to the plate with two outs and Kody Kaiser on second base. Kaiser put himself into scoring position with his 12th stolen base of the season after he had singled up the middle.

The teams went scoreless in the fourth inning but the Huskers got to Patterson with two runs in the fifth frame. Gordon and Curtis Ledbetter provided Nebraska with RBI singles in the top half of the fifth, giving Chamberlain a two-run lead. OU once again battled back in the fifth inning with Chuckie Caufield’s RBI single and the second RBI of the day from Rodriguez.

Patterson was relieved in the sixth inning in favor of the hot-handed junior Will Savage, who came into the ball game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Jeff Christy and Daniel Bruce drove in a run apiece in the frame, with both runs charged to Patterson. Savage did induce a double play ball by Simokaitis to end the threat and keep the Sooners within striking distance.

OU brought Kaiser to the plate, representing the game’s tying run, in the bottom of the ninth with Jackson Williams and Caufield on first and second. With one out, Kaiser drove a hard-hit ball to left center field that looked like it might fall into the gap, but it was hauled in by Bruce in center field. Rodriguez grounded out to end the ball game to give NU’s Zach Kroenke his first career save.

Savage gave up four hits and a run in the final four innings of the game.

Freddy Rodriguez is currently riding a five-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 14 of the last 15 games, including 40 hits in the last 26 games and seven RBI in the last seven games ... Reliever Will Savage has appeared in 14 of OU’s last 15 games ... OU has never lost its first two games of the Big 12 Tournament (1997-2005) and was last eliminated after two games in a conference tournament in 1995 (lost to Kansas and Oklahoma State).



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