NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 13 Oklahoma baseball team extended its winning streak to seven games in a big way on Tuesday with a 15-3 victory over No. 1 Rice at L. Dale Mitchell Park in front of 2,657 fans.
Joe Dunigan (3-for-5, 2 home runs) and Freddy Rodriguez (4-for-4) powered the Sooner offense with three RBI apiece as the Sooners outhit the Owls 14-9. The win avenged an 8-2 loss earlier in the season to the Owls on Feb. 17 and improved OU's all-time record to 4-2 against Rice.
Tuesday's win also improved OU's overall record to 29-10 (8-4 Big 12), while Rice fell to 32-9.
“The fans were great tonight and really provided us with a regional-type atmosphere,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “Our kids played really well in front of a great crowd and I thought Mottern did a great job on the mound and gave us a good start.
“The wind was blowing in tonight and we knew it was going to be tough on the hitters, but our guys found a way to keep it out of the air and Joe (Dunigan) put a couple of balls in the air and got it (the offense) going for us.”
Ryan Mottern (3-1) recorded the win for the Sooners with 5 1/3 innings pitched, with two runs allowed on six hits and two walks. Mottern also struck out three batters and Will Savage collected his seventh save of the season after coming into the ball game with a 7-3 OU lead and two runners on base in the top of the seventh inning.
Will McDaniel suffered his first loss of the season as the Owls’ 14-game winning streak came to an abrupt end on Tuesday. McDaniel tossed four innings and was chased out after allowing six runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk. The Owls also committed three errors on the night.
The Sooners took an early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the fourth inning and increased the cushion with a five-run fifth frame. Rice brought the game back within striking distance after the top of the seventh (7-3), but OU used another big inning with five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the game away.
The last time OU defeated the No. 1 team in the nation was during the 2004 season. On March 20 at L. Dale Mitchell Park, the Sooners topped then-No. 1 Texas, 3-2.
Additionally, Tuesday’s crowd was a season high and also marked the largest attendance at a Sooner home game since May 9, 1998, when 3,168 fans were on hand to witness OU defeat Texas, 14-6.
“This win gives us the confidence that we can compete nationally with anybody,” added Golloway. “And we do have a chance to get to Omaha but we have to come back tomorrow and really work hard and get better.”
OU will return to Big 12 play this weekend when it hits the road to take on Texas Tech for a three-game series. Action gets underway on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by another 6:30 p.m. contest on Saturday, which will be broadcast live on Cox channel 7 in Oklahoma City.
Sunday’s finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the entire three-game series can be heard live on KOKC 1520 AM.