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April 23, 2001

A CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA

OU and ORU Square Off In Tulsa World Baseball Bash

Oklahoma (16-27-1) and Oral Roberts (29-9) will face each other for the second time this season in the Tulsa World Baseball Bash on Tuesday night. The game will be played at 8 p.m. at Driller's Stadium in Tulsa following the Oklahoma State-Arkansas game, which is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

The contest marks the second time this season that the two teams have met. ORU won an 11-4 game earlier in the season at home.

The Sooners continue to hold their ground in the Big 12 Conference standings. After going 1-1-1 last weekend versus No. 30 Texas Tech, Oklahoma stands in sole possession of seventh place in the league standings.

Last Time Out

Oklahoma used two home runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull even with No. 30 Texas Tech, 7-7, and force extra innings Sunday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The game was suspended at the end of the top half of the 10th inning due to rain and finally called after a 44-minute delay because of Sunday travelling conflicts for the Red Raiders. The home runs, back-to-back shots by senior leftfielder Greg Dobbs (4-for-5) and senior designated hitter Sean Smith (3-for-5), brought Oklahoma from behind for the second-straight game in the series. The tie is the first for OU since a 9-9 tie at home against Cameron University in 1980.

Dobbs went deep to right field with a three-run homer to bring with Sooners within one before Smith stepped to the plate in the next at bat and sent the first pitch over the left field fence to tie the game at seven. Dobbs' four-hit performance, along with his four RBIs, were game highs and left him a hit short of hitting for the cycle for the third time this season. Smith also registered his second-consecutive three-hit effort of the series. The Sooner offense, which produced its 11th double-digit hit performance in the last 14 games, used clutch hitting to score five of its seven runs with two outs. OU also stole five bases in the game, including two by Dobbs.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .297 with 34 home runs and 235 RBIs ... In Big 12 Conference games, the squad is hitting .304 with 18 home runs and 120 RBIs ... As of April 23, OU stood in fifth place in the Big 12 in hitting and in conference games only ... OU has pounded out the fifth-most home runs of all the team's in the league ... The team's leading hitter over the last week was senior catcher Sean Smith ... Smith batted .500 (7-for-14) over four games with two runs scored and four RBIs ... Freshmen Denver Kitch and Matt Fisher were two of the team's hottest hitters last week ... Kitch hit at a .500 clip over three games last week, while Fisher batted .313 in four games ... Among the Big 12 Conference leaders: Greg Dobbs - batting average (second), hits (t-second), RBIs (fifth), doubles (t-sixth), total bases (third), on base percentage (t-eighth) and slugging percentage (10th), Jerome Godsey - batting average (15th) and hits (t-seventh), Smith - batting average (20th), Charlie Frasier - home runs (t-sixth).

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.41 ERA and has allowed 231 earned runs in 384.1 innings pitched ... In Big 12 Conference games only, the staff owns a 5.48 ERA with 126 earned runs given up in 207.0 innings pitched ... As of April 23, OU stood in ninth place in the Big 12 in staff ERA and eighth in league games only ... Freshman closer Mark Roberts fanned a career-high five batters last Wednesday versus No. 14 Arizona State ... Roberts racked up 10 strikeouts in his three appearances last week ... Among the Big 12 Conference leaders: Austin Mix - strikeouts (third), innings pitched (seventh) and games started (t-second), Roberts - saves (t-ninth) and appearances (t-third), Austin Coose - appearances (t-sixth), Brandon Hankins - appearances (t-sixth).

DIAMOND NOTES

* OU incurred its first tie on Sunday versus No. 30 Texas Tech for the first time since 1980 when OU tied Cameron University, 9-9, in Norman.

* OU's 6-5 win Saturday night snapped a six-game losing skid to the Red Raiders at L. Dale Mitchell Park dating back to 1997.

* Oklahoma batted over the .300 mark for the week and during the Texas Tech series.

* OU used clutch hitting to score five of its seven runs with two outs on Sunday versus TTU.

* Oklahoma's defense enjoyed two errorless games in the Texas Tech series. OU committed only one error over the three-game set for a .991 weekend fielding percentage.

* The Sooner offense has produced 11 double-digit hit performances in the last 14 games.

* The team was 11-for-12 in the stolen base department for the week. Senior leftfielder Greg Dobbs and freshman rightfielder Denver Kitch were both perfect in the category for the week with 4-for-4 and 3-for-3 efforts, respectively.

* Sophomore righthander Austin Mix registered a double-digit strikeout performance for the second-consecutive start with 10 K's on Sunday versus No. 30 Texas Tech.

MORE ON OKLAHOMA

OU's All-Time Appearances Record

With a start against Oral Roberts on Tuesday, junior Rocky Cherry will tie Oklahoma's all-time appearances record of 68. The all-time mark is owned by Casey Mendenhall who pitched for OU from 1990-1992. Cherry currently sits tied for second place with Matt Ruebel (1989-1991) on the list with 67 career appearances and has the opportunity to establish a new record later this week with a possible weekend start against Centenary.

The righthander has averaged 26 appearances over his first two seasons with the Sooners and his 31 outings last season stand as fourth-best on the school's single-season appearances list.

King Injury Update

Bryan King, the Sooners' starting leftfielder prior to suffering a knee injury during the Texas A&M series, had successful reconstructive knee surgery last week. The surgery, which was performed at the Oklahoma City Surgery Center by team doctor Don McGinnis, repaired a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a damaged meniscus. The Bethany, Okla., native has already begun a six-month rehabilitation period to aid in his recovery.

King, a senior who saw action in only 21 games, and the university have applied to receive a medical redshirt year in hopes of returning to action for the 2002 season. A decision in the appeal is not expected until this summer.

AT THE PLATE: ORAL ROBERTS

Scouting The Golden Eagles

After winning 13 straight, Oral Roberts (29-9) has dropped three of its last four contests. The three losses last week came at the hands of Arkansas, No. 14 Arizona State and Chicago State.

The Golden Eagles are batting at a .307 clip on the year with 32 home runs and 298 runs scored. Leading the charge is senior first baseman Trevor Leu who owns a .427 average with four home runs and 22 RBIs. Junior second baseman Danny Boyle is ORU's second-leading hitter at .370 with a team-high 39 runs scored. Boyle has also stolen a team-best 24 bases.

Junior righthander Michael Rogers, who is projected to start against the Sooners, leads the ORU pitching staff in several categories including wins (9), ERA (2.08), innings pitched (82.1) and strikeouts (98). As a staff, the pitchers have combined for a 3.80 ERA and 139 earned runs in 329 innings pitched.

Last Time Versus ORU

Oklahoma was forced to use seven pitchers who were plagued by a season-high 10 walks in an 11-4 loss to Oral Roberts at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa earlier this season. Offensively, OU out hit ORU, 8-7. OU starting pitcher Buddy Blair (0-2) suffered the loss for the Sooners.

Both teams got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. OU struck first with two runs in the top of the frame when junior designated hitter Charlie Frasier (2-for-3) hit a home run to straight-away centerfield to plate two runs.

On a bizarre play at the bottom of the inning, ORU scored its first run of the game when a miscommunication between OU senior catcher Sean Smith (1-for-4) and Blair allowed a run to cross the plate from third with two away and the bases loaded. Three walks, an error and a base hit later, off Blair and junior reliever Rocky Cherry, led to four more runs in the inning to open up a 5-2 Golden Eagle lead.

Oral Roberts would strike again with three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh inning.

The Sooners added two more runs to their total in the eighth frame. Senior centerfielder Jerome Godsey (2-for-4) tripled with one out and scored on the next play, a RBI-single by Bartlett. After a single by senior first baseman Greg Dobbs (1-for-4) and a wild pitch moved Bartlett to third base, Frasier nailed a base hit to drive in Bartlett for his third RBI of the game.