HOUSTON -- The No. 10 Sooners (45-21) avoided elimination in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last nine days with a 11-5 victory over Rice (54-11) in game two of the NCAA Houston Super Regional on Sunday at Reckling Park. The two will play in the deciding game on Sunday at noon on ESPN.
For the second time this season against No. 1 Rice, the Sooners’ offense rolled with 11 runs on 16 hits and again ended the Owls’ 14-game winning streak.
Each of the Sooners’ starters had at least one hit, led by Ryan Rohlinger’s 3-for-4 performance with two RBI at the plate. Rohlinger, the MVP of the Norman Regional, is hitting .581 (18-for-31) with four doubles, three homers, 13 RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage in the Sooners’ seven NCAA Tournament games this season.
On the other side of the ball for OU, Daniel McCutchen was solid with nine strikeouts in his fifth complete game of the season. McCutchen now has 25 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings pitched in the postseason. In addition, the Norman native moved into second place on OU’s single-season strikeouts list with 147 (11 behind Mark Redman who had 158 in 1995).
McCutchen allowed five runs off nine hits, but only gave up one hit in the final five innings. From the end of the fourth inning on, the hurler retired 14 consecutive batters before allowing a walk (his first of the game) and a single to Jordan Dodson in the ninth inning.
After scoring first with a RBI double off the bat of Kevin Smith (2-for-5, 2 RBI) in the first, the Sooners, behind their ace, surrendered solo home runs in the third (Joe Savery) and fourth inning (Kenny Ford).
In Rice’s fourth inning, Ford struck again with a two-run double that dropped into shallow center field and Tyler Henley drove in another run to take a 6-5 lead.
In the bottom half of the fourth inning, the Sooners’ offense responded and put together a five-run frame. The offensive explosion led to OU’s 20th comeback victory of the 2006 season. Besides RBI singles by Jackson Williams (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Chuckie Caufield and a sacrifice fly by Rohlinger, the Owls helped the Sooners’ cause with two errors and a wild pitch in the inning.
The Sooners piled on four more runs in the seventh inning and a single run in the eighth to cruise to the victory. OU is now 5-3 all-time against Rice and is one win away from advancing to the program’s 10th College World Series appearance and first since 1995.
The teams will resume action on Monday at Reckling Park in the deciding game of the best-of-three series. The game is slated to begin at noon and can be seen live on ESPN in the state of Oklahoma and can be heard live on KOKC 1520 AM.
For the second time this season, the Sooners ended a 14-game winning streak by Rice. On April 18 in Norman, OU topped then-No. 1 Rice 15-3 to end a 14-game streak
OU is now 5-3 all-time against Rice and is one win away from advancing to the program’s 10th College World Series appearance and first since 1995. The Sooners are in the middle of their 30th trip to the NCAA postseason, but are playing in their first NCAA Super Regional.
With a double in the fi rst inning, senior Ryan Rohlinger extended his season high hitting streak to ten games. In that span, Rohlinger is 23-for-41 (.561). In addition, Rohlinger’s three RBI performance upped his 2006 NCAA Tournament total to 13. Rohlinger is hitting .581 during the Sooners’ seven tournament games with four doubles, three homers and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
With nine strikeouts today, Daniel McCutchen moved into sole possession of second place on OU’s all-time single-season list with 147. McCutchen passed Geoff Geary (142 in 1998) who currently is 4-0 in the majors this season with the Philadelphia Phillies. McCutchen, sits behind Mark Redman who recorded 158 strikeouts in 1995. Additionally, McCutchen also moved himself closer to fourth place on OU’s career strikeouts list with 291, behind Ray Hayward’s 293 (1980-83).
The Sooners recorded 11 runs on 16 hits on Sunday, marking the 41st time they have connected for at least 10 hits (37-4) and the 20th time with at least 10 runs (20-0).