NORMAN, Okla.--The Oklahoma Sooners (33-22 overall, 14-13 Big 12), seeded ﬁfth, will begin the quest for its second Big 12 Tournament crown on Wednesday as it faces fourth-seeded Missouri (37-19, 16-11) in the ﬁrst round of the 2005 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament.
First pitch is scheduled at 5 p.m. at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. The teams have met on three occasions in the conference tournament since 1997, with OU holding a 2-1 advantage. Missouri won the last postseason meeting, a 9-5 victory in the ﬁrst game of the 2004 tourney.
The ﬁrst round game against Missouri will be aired on the Sooners’ ﬂagship station, KOKC 1520 AM, with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play. All times and availability are subject to change. Live stats will also be available through SoonerSports.com.
Overall Record: 37-19, Big 12: 16-11 | Rankings: No. 17 (Baseball America)
Missouri enters the postseason after going 5-5 in its last 10 games. The sixteen conference wins is the most for the Tigers since the 1998 team went 17-12 in Big 12 play. The Tigers are coming off a series win over Baylor after dropping the series opener in Waco, Texas.
Wednesday’s contest will be a rematch of a pitchers’ duel held on April 22 in Columbia, Mo. In that game, Daniel McCutchen (3-5, 4.01) matched perhaps the conference’s best pitcher, Max Scherzer (8-3, 1.54), pitch for pitch. Mc- Cutchen lasted 5.1 innings and allowed one run on four hits and seven strike outs. Sherzer worked six innings of one-hit ball and gave up one run and struck out nine Sooners. OU eventually won the game, 2-1, after rain delayed Friday’s contest into action on Saturday. Missouri went on to clinch the series with wins in game two and three, by scores of 10-6 and 6-4, respectively.
OU is currently riding its second longest winning streak of the season at seven games, included in that span is ﬁ ve consecutive conference victories. The Sooners won eight straight games earlier in the season and that streak started with South Alabama on Feb. 13 at the 2005 Coca-Cola Classic. OU then went on to sweep Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois in separate three-game series and ﬁ nished off the streak with UCLA at the Kia Bash on March 4. During the current streak, OU is hitting .329 with 52 runs scored on nine home runs, 15 doubles, two triples and 46 RBI.
SOONERS’ RECORDS IN THE BIG 12 TOURNAMENT
OU is making its fourth appearance against Missouri in the Big 12 Tournament and below is a short history of how OU has fared against each of the teams and as the various seeds.
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LAST TIME OUT - OU SWEEPS RED RAIDERS IN SEASON FINALE
The Sooners completed their ﬁ rst Big 12 series sweep of the season on Sunday by defeating Texas Tech, 14-11, in Norman. Daniel McCutchen pitched eight stellar innings (nine strikeouts) in OU’s 6-3 series opening win. The Sooners followed that up with a 3-1 win on Saturday. OU defeated Northern Colorado earlier in the week, in a doubleheader on Tuesday (16-5, 4-2).
MORE ON THE SWEEP OF TEXAS TECH
The last time the Red Raiders were swept in a three-game series was in 2003, the last time they were in Norman.
OU’s 14 runs against the Red Raiders marked the most runs scored in a conference game this season. It was also 15th time that OU scored 10 or more runs in a game.
Will Savage came in to record the save in all three games against the Red Raiders this weekend.
OU shut down the league’s third best hitting team (.306 average in conference games) to ten hits and four runs in the ﬁrst two games.
MORE ON THE SWEEP OF UNC
OU tied a season high with 20 hits in the ball game (March 8 vs. UAPB). The offensive explosion marked the 11th time that it recorded 15 or more hits this season.
Steven Guerra improved to 5-5 by recording a season-high eight strikeouts in his 14th start of the season. Guerra lasted 5 1/3 innings, in game one, and allowed four runs--all earned-- on nine hits and one walk.
Ryan Rohlinger hit two homers and was a foot away from his third dinger, as the OU third baseman went 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored in the second game. Rohlinger is the ﬁ rst Sooner this season to collect two round trippers in a game. Rohlinger ﬁ nished the doubleheader 4-for-9 with six RBI and four runs scored. In the program’s history, only nine Sooners have ever hit three homers in a single game (last time: Chris Haggard in 2000 vs. ISU).
ROHLINGER EARNS BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR
Ryan Rohlinger turned in another stellar performance this week with three home runs and 10 RBI in two games against Northern Colorado and three more against Texas Tech. As a result, the Sooners third baseman was named this week’s Big 12 Player of the Week, the ﬁ rst of his career, along with Oklahoma State’s Adam Carr. The West Bend, Wisc., native hit .368 for the week and slugged at a 1.000 clip. On Sunday versus the Red Raiders, the West Bend, Wisc., native hit a grand slam to give OU the lead for good in a 14-11 victory. The four-RBI game tied a career high for Rohlinger, a feat he has achieved four times in his career. His other four-RBI game this season came in action earlier this week against Northern Colorado, a game in which he hit two home runs and was a foot away from his third.
The three home runs last week gives Rohlinger a team-leading 10 dingers on the season. He is the ﬁ rst player in the last three years to record 10 or more home runs in a season for OU. Charlie Frasier and Jason Fransz were the last Sooners to hit 10 or more homers in a season. In 2002, Fransz had 15 round trippers and Frasier was second on the team with 12. Rohlinger used the ﬁ ve games this week to extend his current hitting streak to six games. He has hit safely in 17 of the last 20 games and has eight homers and 19 RBI in those contests. He ﬁnished the regular season as the team’s leader in batting average (.355), hits (75), runs (47), home runs (10), RBI (49) and slugging percentage (.578). Rohlinger is the third Sooner to garner weekly conference honors this season. On March 29, right-handed pitcher Steven Guerra was honored and Will Savage won the Pitcher of the Week accolade on May 10.
Nineteen of the Sooners’ 41 home runs this season have come in the last 12 games. OU has hit a round tripper in all but three of those contests (Wichita State, game two vs. OSU and game one versus Texas Tech). Ryan Rohlinger has hit six in that span.
Freshman catcher Jackson Williams has played in 51 games this season, starting 47 of them. Despite his current .265 average, the Broken Arrow, Okla., native is hitting the ball well as of late. He broke out of his 0-for-26 slump in a big way against Oklahoma State with a solo homer in the eighth inning. Starting with the homer against OSU, Williams is hitting .375 in the last eight games (9-for-24) and has driven in seven runs on two doubles and two homers. Before that game, his average was at a season-low .248. Williams has consistently been around the .300 mark for most of the season and was hitting at a .301 clip 19 games ago.
Sooner reliever Will Savage has become OU’s go-to guy in the bullpen. The junior earned four saves in his four appearances this week against Northern Colorado and Texas Tech. Savage struck out ﬁ ve and walked zero as he held batters to a .267 clip in the ﬁ ve games last week. Savage has now appeared in 12 of OU’s last 13 games and has only given up one run and one walk in his last eight appearances.
Since heading to the bullpen on April 16, Savage has made 16 appearances spanning 35 2/3 innings. In those innings of work, he has posted a 1.01 ERA, recorded a 5-0 mark and ﬁ ve saves, allowed nine runs (four earned) on 33 hits and four walks while striking out 18 batters. In 135 at-bats, hitters have a .244 average against Savage. He currently leads the team in wins (8), appearances (30), innings pitched (87) and ranks third in strikeouts (52) and has allowed just 16 walks in 341 at-bats.
RALEY’S CONSECUTIVE STARTS STREAK ENDS
Junior Russell Raley has been a permanent ﬁxture in the Sooners lineup for the last three seasons. On Friday against Texas Tech, a streak of 111 consecutive games with a start came to an end due to soreness in his right ankle. Raley started 60 games a season ago (missing just two of the ﬁrst three games) and started every game this season (52) heading into the Texas Tech series. He ﬁnished 2003 with 16 straight starts and he has come off the bench in just 11 contests in his OU career. Of the 111 consecutive starts, only four did not occur at second base (2004-three starts at third and 2005-one start as DH).