COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- In Sunday’s series finale, OU’s offense came alive to post six runs off 12 hits and claim the series victory with a 6-3 win over Texas A&M. The Sooners combined for eight hits in games one and two against the Aggies, but still managed to split the first two contests of the series.
Ryan Rohlinger’s two-run home run in the fifth inning and P.J. Sandoval’s eight-inning performance fueled the No. 16 Sooners’ victory in front of 4,376 fans at Olsen Field.
OU improved to 24-10 overall and 5-4 in Big 12 action with the win and Texas A&M fell to 19-16 and 3-9.
“We came out today, built off last night’s momentum and played a great game,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “Ryan (Rohlinger) really opened things up for our offense in the fifth inning and we got another great outing from our starter. We really feel good about our weekend rotation and we will continue to rest them and get them ready for next weekend. But now our focus is on TCU.”
Over the weekend, the Sooners got three solid outings from their starters. Despite the loss on Friday, Daniel McCutchen pitched a complete game and was followed up by Steven Guerra’s eight-inning, one-hit shutout last night.
On Sunday, Sandoval (5-1) pitched his longest career outing with 8 2/3 innings of work. Against the Aggies, Sandoval struck out four and allowed three earned runs off five hits and one walk. The entire weekend staff, which also included Will Savage (1-0, save), limited Texas A&M to six earned runs off 14 hits and three walks in three games. In 28 innings pitched, the four hurlers struck out 26 batters and held them to a .144 batting average.
OU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Kody Kaiser single which plated Chuckie Caufield in the first frame. For Kaiser, it was the first of three hits on the day (two singles and a double).
The Sooners increased the lead to two runs in the fourth inning on a Kevin Smith sacrifice fly to right field. That advantage was short lived as Texas A&M took the lead in the bottom half of the inning with three runs off two hits and a walk. The Aggies were scoreless for the 16 consecutive innings in the series prior to the three-run fourth frame.
With Texas A&M in the lead, the Sooners countered immediately and the tables quickly changed in the fifth inning. OU regained the lead as Rohlinger tagged Kyle Thebeau’s pitch to left field for his team-leading sixth homer of 2006. Thebeau (3-4) was charged with the loss after four innings of relief.
Before Will Savage could enter the game in the ninth inning, OU took a 6-3 lead on two runs in the eighth frame. Russell Raley and Jackson Williams each connected for RBI singles to give OU all the runs it would need. Savage recorded the final out of the game to complete a weekend that saw him earn the win on Saturday and his first save since March 5 (UC Riverside) on Sunday.
Offensively, OU recorded its 20th game with 10 or more hits. The Sooners chased Texas A&M starter Matt Ueckert out of the contest with four innings in the book. Ueckert allowed two earned runs off six hits. Kaiser led the way for OU with three hits and Rohlinger’s two RBI were a game high. Rohlinger, Raley and Freddy Rodriguez all finished with two hits as OU improved to 18-2 when posting double-digit hits in a game this season.
OU returns to play for a five-game home stand, starting with a Tuesday night contest against TCU at 7 p.m. for $.50 hot dog and coke night at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Then the Sooners will play host to Missouri for a three-game series over the weekend. Saturday’s game will mark the Sooners’ fourth televised game of the 2006 season. OU and Missouri can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest (OKC Ch. 37) on April 15 at 3 p.m.
Below is a look at the Big 12 standings after action on Sunday: