OKLAHOMA CITY -- After an 0-2 start in the Big 12 Championship, the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners salvaged the week with a 21-6 run-rule victory on Saturday over No. 12 Oklahoma State at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. The Sooner offense set a Big 12 record, and a season high, for runs scored in a Big 12 Championship game and it only needed seven innings to do so.
The win improved OU to 40-19 overall, while OSU fell to 39-18. The 40 victories so far in 2006 is a first for OU in the last six years. The last time OU recorded 40 wins in a season was during the 2000 season (41-23).
"I am really proud of our student athletes and the way that they came back and fought today," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "I don't think that there is any question that yesterday was a disappointment. We really fought hard today and gained some much needed momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament."
Chuckie Caufield (4-for-5, 2 RBI), Kevin Smith (3-for-4, 4 RBI), Russell Raley (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Ryan Rohlinger (3-for-4, 4 RBI) led the Sooners offensively, while ace Daniel McCutchen earned his eighth win of the season with six strikeouts.
No. 3 seed OU, who is 6-0 in the Big 12 postseason against OSU, only scored two runs in the first two games of the championship, but matched that and more in the first inning of Saturday's game against the No. 2 seeded Cowboys.
The Sooners posted three runs in the first frame thanks to two singles by Chuckie Caufield and Russell Raley and two hit by pitches taken by Kody Kaiser and Aaron Reza. After Caufield scored on Reza's at-bat, Kevin Smith drove in a run off the first of four errors for OSU (season high) and Brandon Moss finished off the inning with sacrifice fly to center field.
The struggles did not stop there for the Cowboys and Brae Wright (8-3). OU came up in the third inning and scored eight more runs (second most in an inning this season) on a two-run triple by Caufield and a two-run homer by Rohlinger.
The third inning marked the end of the night for Wright who despite allowing eight hits in three innings, only allowed two earned runs (11 total). The OSU starter was relieved by Dusty Barnard who surrendered four more runs, all earned, over 1 2/3 innings. The Cowboys used five pitchers in the game and combined to allow 18 hits over seven innings.
For Oklahoma, McCutchen received plenty of run support early on and cruised to the victory to improve to 8-7. The hurler did allow five earned runs off six hits and two walks before giving way to Will Savage. The Sooners' closer tossed the final two innings and allowed two hits and one walk to go along with his two punch outs.
The Sooners will now await their postseason fate which will be announced along with the rest of the NCAA 64-team field this Monday, May 29 at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN. The NCAA Selection Committe will announce the 16 regional sites on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (ESPNEWS).
OU's 21 runs was a Big 12 Championship record and the most OU had scored in a game since it tallied 21 on March 8, 2005 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which saw the Sooners pound out 20 hits in nine innings ... Saturday's offensive output also saw OU tie the most runs it has scored in a Bedlam game. The 21 runs on Saturday matched the same amount scored on March 31, 1985, a game that saw the Sooners record its largest margin of victory in the all-time series (21-3) ... OU is 6-0 in the Big 12 Championship against OSU and has outscored the Cowboys 64-28 in those contests ... Ryan Rohlinger surpassed the 50-RBI mark on Saturday ending an eight-game RBI drought. Rohlinger now has 53 and is the first Sooner to record back-to-back 50-RBI seasons since Casey Bookout (1999-60, 1998-76). Rohlinger led the team last year with 53 RBI. Smith (59 RBI) also ended a drought of nine games without an RBI and he combines with Rohlinger to become the first pair of Sooners to record 50 RBI each in a season since Greg Dobbs (62) and Charlie Frasier (57) accomplished that feat during the 2001 season ... The Sooners' eight-run third inning was the second highest total of the season. OU scored that same amount in a March 10 game against Centenary and in a May 6 game against Kansas State this year. The most runs this season in an inning came against New Mexico (10).