TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Sooners took an early 1-0 lead but could not recover after giving up three runs in the second inning in a 5-1 loss to Arizona State on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. It marks the third straight loss to the Sun Devils after dropping the series opener on Friday and falling earlier in the season at the Coca-Cola Classic.
OU made up for Friday’s slow start on Saturday when Chuckie Caufield crossed the plate in the top of the first frame on Ryan Rohlinger’s single to left field. Caufield led off the game off by reaching first base on an error by ASU’s second baseman on a routine ground ball.
In the series opener, the Sooners went hitless for the first three innings and only one of their four runs came after a base hit.
The Sun Devils went down in order in the first but that was the end of the promising start for OU. The Sooners’ starting pitcher, Garrett Patterson, was forced to leave the game after facing one batter in the second inning. Patterson re-aggravated a lower-abdominal strain from a couple of weeks ago and finished the day with an official line that included zero hits, one run (earned) and one hit batsman over an inning pitched.
The left-handed starter was relieved by P.J. Sandoval and the Sooners’ second pitcher of the night did not last long. Sandoval surrendered two runs on two hits in two thirds of an inning.
The ball was quickly handed over to Will Savage who settled in nicely and ended the second frame with the Sooners trailing 3-1. Savage continued on through 6.1 solid innings of relief. Despite striking out four and allowing four hits to close out the game, Savage could not stop ASU from increasing its lead.
The Sun Devils added single insurance runs in the third and seventh inning and ASU starter Erik Averill cruised for his fifth win of the season. Averill pitched a complete game and allowed one unearned run on five hits and he struck out seven.
The Sooners’ offense could never get going after the first frame. Oklahoma put just three base runners in scoring position after the initial frame and stranded eight Sooners on base in the game.
Rohlinger added another hit in the eighth inning to finish 2-for-3 with a RBI. The junior continues to hit at a torrid pace on his current 12-game hitting streak. Within that span, the West Bend, Wisc., native is hitting .531 with 26 hits and 16 RBI. Saturday’s multi-hit performance was Rohlinger’s 11th such performance this season, a mark that leads the team.
The loss takes OU to 12-7 on the season while ASU improves to 15-12. The Sooners will look to avoid the sweep in the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CT) at Packard Stadium. Oklahoma has not lost a series this season, going 4-0 so far. OU’s Brad Burns and ASU’s Pat Bresnehan are the projected starters for the series finale.