SURPRISE, Ariz., -- In the second game of the day, OU suffered a 7-5 defeat against No. 12 (Baseball America) Arizona State in the 2005 Coca-Cola Classic on Saturday in Surprise, Ariz. The Sooners lost an 8-5 contest earlier in the day to Gonzaga after Friday's action was rained out.
For the second consecutive game, the Sooners got on the scoreboard first with an RBI single by senior Eric Thornton, his second of the day. However, just like the first game on Saturday against Gonzaga, the Sooners did not hold onto the lead for very long as ASU rallied in the bottom half of the inning for three runs off junior Daniel McCutchen, making his third career start for OU. The Sun Devils extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with two additional runs charged to McCutchen.
In the sixth, OU made their move when Freddy Rodriguez singled to score Kevin Smith, who walked earlier in the inning. Jackson Williams followed and doubled to deep center field and the blast scored Joe Dunigan and Rodriguez to bring the Sooners within one. It was then up to Jeff Scuderi whose single scored Williams and all of a sudden the Sooners were tied at 5-5. Facing the third ASU pitcher of the inning, the rally was cut short with Scuderi at third, when Kody Kaiser and Russell Raley went down swinging in order.
In the bottom half of the sixth, junior Garrett Patterson came in and relieved McCutchen after five innings of work, where he allowed four earned runs on eight hits. Patterson immediately had to battle out of trouble as he walked the first batter faced and balked that same runner to second base. He then struck out a Sun Devil before allowing a double that put ASU back on top in the sixth frame. The Sun Devils added another run in the inning as Patterson struck out his second hitter of the inning before allowing the RBI single.
Despite the loss, it was an encouraging game for Patterson who has seen very limited action in the last two years due to elbow surgery. The lefty went three innings, struck out four and allowed two runs in just his second appearance in over a year.
The sixth inning rally was all that ASU’s Tony Barnette would need to close out the game as the reliever was solid retiring ten straight OU batters before allowing Russell Raley and Ryan Rohlinger reach on a single and walk, respectively in the final frame. That brought Smith up to the plate but he was unable to score the runners and the Sooners finished the game with 10 hits, led by Williams. The freshman catcher was 2-for-4 in his OU debut and in addition, the Broken Arrow, Okla., native drove in two runs, a game high for OU.
ASU's Jeff Larish was the difference make in the ballgame as the senior went 2-for-4 with four RBI. Patterson was handed the loss while Barnette recorded his first win of the season.
The Sooners fall to 0-2 on the young season while ASU improves to 6-3 and OU will continue action in the 2005 Coca-Cola Classic with the finale against South Alabama on Sunday. Tomorrow’s action versus the Jaguars will get started at noon (CST). South Alabama is 1-1 on the season after defeating Gonzaga, 9-7, in the other nightcap on Saturday. The game is set to be broadcast on the Sooners’ new home on the radio, KOKC 1520 AM with play-by-play announcer Chuck Kelly with the call. The broadcasts will start 10 minutes before the scheduled start time and will also be available on internet via Yahoo Sports.
OU will start the home portion of the schedule next weekend against Eastern Illinois. The three-game series will start on Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park at 1 p.m. and will be followed with games on Sunday (1 p.m.) and Monday (3 p.m.).