MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- The OU baseball team rebounded on Saturday to record a 6-3 victory over Indiana State at the Service Academies Classic and was led by another strong outing by its starter, Steven Guerra, who improved to 4-0 this season. The win pushed the Sooners' overall record to 8-3 while the Sycamores dropped to 0-3.
The Sooners got back into the swing of things with another double-digit hit performance, the eighth of the season, after recording just four hits during Friday’s loss to Memphis.
Despite a 2-0 Indiana State lead after the first inning, OU used 10 hits to come from behind and made its move with two runs in the sixth inning and three more runs in the seventh to build a 6-3 cushion.
“Today was pretty typical for the 11th game of a season,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “We are playing well and there are a lot of positives, but still a lot of things left to work on. Our starters have been solid, as well as our defense, but we still have to clean up some things offensively.
“One of the positives that we can take away from this weekend is that our No. 1 (Daniel McCutchen) and No. 2 (Steven Guerra) starters have pitched effectively, deep into games. That, along with everything else we are doing in the non-conference season, is preparing us for Big 12 play.”
Indiana State became just the third team this season to score first on OU (Texas State and Rice) after plating two runs off of three hits in the first inning. For the first time in 2006, Guerra was pitching from behind and after a shaky start in the first frame, the right-hander settled down and retired the Sycamores in order in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.
Guerra finished the game with five strikeouts and two earned runs off four hits in six innings. Guerra showed excellent control combining with John Brownell and Will Savage to post the Sooners’ second straight game without a walk.
OU took the lead in the fifth inning after Jackson Williams brought the team within one run in the fourth. Aaron Ivey’s sacrifice bunt in the fifth frame put Chuckie Caufield and Williams into scoring position. With Caufield on third and Williams at second base, Freddy Rodriguez connected for his second single of the game on a two-run base knock.
The sixth frame saw OU pull away. The scoring started with Kody Kaiser scoring on a Sycamore throwing error after a stolen base and ended with Ryan Rohlinger’s solo home run that towered over the scoreboard in left field (his second of the year) and Williams’ single through the left side of the infield that brought in Chuckie Caufield from second base.
Indiana State got its fourth hit of the game in the sixth inning and two more in the eighth. The Sycamores also plated its third and final run of the ball game in the eighth before Savage retired the side in the ninth with two strikeouts to earn his third save of the season. Brownell was the first hurler out of the OU bullpen, taking over for Guerra in the seventh inning, and he pitched two innings with three strikeouts.
The Sycamores’ Chad Dawson (0-1) took the loss after lasting six innings in his first appearance of 2006. Dawson surrendered three runs, two earned, off six hits and three walks before giving way to Jason Murray (three runs) and Shaun Larsen.
Jake Eigsti went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in one of the Sycamores three runs. For OU, Williams (2 RBI), Rodriguez (2 RBI) and Aaron Reza, who all connected for two hits apiece, powered the Sooner offense Saturday.
OU concludes the tournament on Sunday, Feb. 26 against Notre Dame (2-1) at noon. OU’s P.J. Sandoval (2-1, 3.86 ERA) is expected to throw opposite Notre Dame’s Jeff Manship (0-0, 0.00 ERA). The Fighting Irish lost 7-6 in extra innings to Memphis late Saturday night.