LUBBOCK, Texas -- Oklahoma secured its third consecutive Big 12 series victory with a 6-5 win at Dan Law Field on Saturday. The victory also extended the No. 13 Sooners' winning streak to a season-high nine games. The last time OU won nine-straight games was during the 2000 season (April 2-15).
OU, despite being outhit 11-9, improved to 31-10 overall and 10-4 in the Big 12, while Texas Tech fell to 26-16-1 and 6-9-1.
"I thought we played terrific defense with the there double plays and John Brownell pitched outstanding to help us secure victory," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "Its nice to have an arm like John's in the bullpen, one that can pick you up early in the game and hold the lead till we can get to our closer."
After four scoreless innings, Kevin Smith's two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning broke the 4-4 tie, scoring Aaron Reza and Ryan Rohlinger. The multiple RBI game for Smith, his team leading 16th, continued the recent power surge that has seen him connect for two or more RBI in six of the last seven games. In addition, Smith has driven in at least one run in the last eight games and has 16 RBI in that span.
OU starter Steven Guerra pitched the shortest outing of his career (2 2/3 vs. Nebraska on April 29, 2005) with 1 1/3 innings. The hurler allowed four runs on four hits and tied a season high for walks with three. John Brownell (2-0) came out of the OU bullpen and was solid with 6 2/3 innings of effective relief (career high). Brownell held the Red Raiders scoreless and struck out five batters opposite one walk and four hits.
Will Savage notched his ninth save of the season despite allowing three hits and one run in the ninth inning. In his last nine appearances, the Sooners' closer is 3-0 with four saves.
The Red Raiders made things interesting by loading the bases with one out in the ninth. Brian Capps produced Texas Tech's fifth run of the game on a sacrifice fly to center field and Roger Kieschnick ended the game after grounding out to the Sooners' shortstop, Freddy Rodriguez.
After Kody Kaiser put OU on the board with a two-run blast over the left-field fence in the first inning, Texas Tech rallied with three runs in the first at-bat. For Kaiser, it marked his first home run since June 5, 2005 (NCAA Regional vs. Maine), ending a span of 39 games.
The Sooners posted two more runs in the second inning on RBI singles by Jackson Williams and Aaron Reza, but again the Red Raiders quickly countered.
Guerra started things off in the second inning by walking the first two batters and Capps hit a one-out single to center field to tie things up at four runs apiece. That was the last batter Guerra faced as Brownell came out of the Sooner bullpen to end the Tech rally. With runners on first and second and one out, Brownell forced Roger Kieschnick into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Aaron Odom took the loss for Texas Tech, dropping his record to 3-3. Odom allowed two runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings of relief after taking over for starter Colt Hynes (3 1/3 IP, six hits, four runs). Offensively, Smith and Reza led the way for Oklahoma with two hits each and Smith was also one of two Sooners two drive in two runs (Kaiser).
The series concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m. as OU looks for its second consecutive Big 12 series sweep. OU's P.J. Sandoval (5-1, 5.26 ERA) is expected to throw opposite Texas Tech's Josh Tomlin (1-2, 3.33 ERA). The series finale can be heard live on KOKC 1520 AM.
BIG 12 STANDINGS
Below is a look at the Big 12 standings after action on Saturday, April 22:
NEW MEXICO ADDED TO 2006 SCHEDULE
OU announced Thursday that it will host New Mexico on Monday, April 24 in Norman. First pitch at L. Dale Mitchell Park is scheduled for 3 p.m. The extra game was added to make up for the contest lost on Sunday, March 19 against Arizona State. The finale of that series was cancelled because of rain in Tempe, Ariz. Admission to Monday’s game is free and concession stands will be open.