TEMPE, Ariz. -- No. 21 Oklahoma's eight-game winning streak was snapped in heartbreaking fashion, 8-7, on Friday against No. 11 Arizona State at Packard Stadium.
The loss came after another 10 strike out performance by Daniel McCutchen and OU dropped to 17-5 overall. The Sun Devils improved to 18-6.
ASU used a three-run ninth inning to erase a two-run Sooner cushion en route to its sixth straight victory against OU at Packard Stadium. The last time OU defeated ASU on its home field was on March 14, 2003 in a 6-5 game when the Sun Devils were ranked No.1.
With no outs and the Sooners ahead 7-5 in the ninth inning, Arizona State brought the game-tying run to the plate in the person of Colin Curtis. He doubled to left center off Nate Hammons to plate Ryan Sontag and bring the Sun Devils within one run, 7-6.
Hammons was replaced by closer Will Savage, who fielded an attempted sacrifice bunt by Jeff Sferra and got Curtis out at third base. Eric Sogard then tripled down the right-field line to tie the ball game at seven runs apiece.
Center fielder Joseph Hughes then took the mound after making the start in the field and intentionally walked the bases loaded to set up the force-out at any base. The strategy almost played out perfectly for OU as Seth Dhaenens hit a sharp grounder up the middle that was snagged by a diving Freddy Rodriguez, but the Sooners’ shortstop could not make the flip to start the potential double play.
Savage (1-1) took the loss after suffering his second blown save of the season.
ASU’s Brady Martinez (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his first victory of 2006. Martinez was one of three relievers used by ASU after starter Ike Davis lasted 4 2/3 innings. The starter, also the team’s designated hitter, allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out five Sooners.
ASU jumped out on top early with a solo homer by Sogard, his fourth of the year, in the first inning.
OU took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second after Jackson Williams singled up the middle to advance Joe Dunigan to third base and gave OU runners on the corners with two outs. Then Rodriguez, batting well over .400 with runners in scoring position, lashed a single to left field to give the Sooners the lead.
After allowing two ASU runs in the second inning, McCutchen bounced back in the third to record his fifth strikeout of the game after sitting down Sogard to start the frame. Despite recording two outs against the first two batters of the inning, McCutchen surrendered another run with back-to-back hits and the Sun Devils scored another run in the fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead.
The Sooners used a four-run, two-out rally in the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead. All nine batters in the Sooner lineup came to the plate in the inning. Chuckie Caufield and Ryan Rohlinger started the comeback with back-to-back singles and came home on Kevin Smith’s double to center field. Russell Raley singled to left, plating Smith, and later scored on a passed ball.
McCutchen lasted seven innings and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts, tying the mark set once this year (Feb. 24 vs. Memphis) and once last year (April 15 at No. 1 Texas). Despite recording 30 punch outs in those three games, McCutchen is 0-1 in that span.
On Friday, he surrendered five earned runs off nine hits, two walks and 118 pitches (80 strikes). The Norman native entered the game ranked second in the Big 12 in strikeouts and first in innings pitched. McCutchen has struck out 48 batters in 48 innings pitched this season.
ASU and OU each connected for 12 hits in the game and each left nine runners on base. Raley led the Sooners’ offensive charge with a 3-for-4 performance and Williams and Caufield each connected for two hits in the ball game. Caufield extended his hitting streak to six games and Smith’s hitting streak reached seven games, which tied a career high. Smith’s two RBI was a team high.
Curtis and Sogard led the Sun Devils with three hits apiece as the duo combined for six RBI.
The three-game set continues on Saturday with a 7 p.m. (CT) first pitch and OU’s Steven Guerra (6-0, 2.27 ERA) is expected to throw opposite ASU’s Jeff Urlaub (5-0, 1.91 ERA).