March 27, 2001

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A CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma and Oral Roberts Square Off In Mid-Week Slate

Oklahoma (10-19) and Oral Roberts (15-6) will meet for the second time this season when the Sooners host the Golden Eagles Wednesday. The game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

ORU won the first meeting between the two schools, 11-4, two weeks ago in Tulsa. Both schools will also meet again on Tues., April 24 at Driller's Stadium in Tulsa.

Last Time Out

Oklahoma dropped the rubber match of the baseball Red River Rivalry series, 5-2, to Texas Sunday afternoon at Disch-Falk Field in Austin. The Sooners out-hit the Longhorns by a 9-8 margin, but three errors in the game led to three unearned runs for OU. The Oklahoma offense once again had trouble bringing runners home as for the third-straight time in the series, OU stranded 10 runners with seven in scoring position.

OU and UT traded runs through the first two innings with the Longhorns emerging with a slim 3-2 lead after two frames. Oklahoma jumped ahead in the top of the first inning when senior third baseman Jason Bartlett (1-for-5) nailed a double to left field and scored two batters later when junior shortstop Sergio Garcia (2-for-3) delivered a two out single.

The Sooners plated another run in the second frame when freshman second baseman Matt Fisher (1-for-3) singled with one out and, following a walk by junior catcher Chris Haggard (0-for-2), senior centerfielder Jerome Godsey (2-for-5) doubled home Fisher.

Texas did most of their damage through the first three innings scoring two in the first frame and one each in the second and third innings. Oklahoma starting pitcher Austin Mix (0-5) settled down and only surrendered one more run through the next four frames. Mix finished the game giving up only two earned runs and eight hits, while striking out nine, over seven innings of work.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .291 with 24 home runs and 156 RBIs ... In Big 12 Conference games, the squad is hitting .287 with nine home runs and 57 RBIs ... As of March 26, OU stood in fifth place in the Big 12 in hitting and ranked fourth in hitting in conference games only ... OU has pounded out the fourth-most home runs of all the team's in the league ... The club's per game averages stand at 10.10 hits, 5.69 runs and 1.55 doubles ... The team's leading hitter last week was Greg Dobbs ... The senior first baseman batted .667 (12-for-18) with four runs scored and six RBIs ... Dobbs also posted three multi-hit performances, including establishing a career high and tying a school record with five hits against UTA ... Junior shortstop Sergio Garcia collected at least one hit and drove in at least one run in all four games last week while hitting .400 (6-for-15).

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.37 ERA and has allowed 150 earned runs in 251.1 innings pitched ... In Big 12 Conference games only, the staff owns a 5.07 ERA with 58 earned runs given up in 103.0 innings pitched ... On the average, the Sooners are surrendering 10.7 hits, 7.1 runs and 4.3 walks per game while striking out 5.8 batters a contest ... As of March 26, OU stood in ninth place in the Big 12 in staff ERA and sixth in league games only ... Freshman closer Mark Roberts has thrown 3.2 innings of scoreless relief in his last three appearances ... Roberts has also fanned six batters and allowed only one hit over that stretch ... Junior Rocky Cherry suffered only his third loss in his last 13 decisions in Saturday's 8-1 defeat at No. 25 Texas.

Milestone Victory

Larry Cochell picked up his 400th victory at OU last Wednesday with a 7-2 win at Texas-Arlington. Cochell, who opened the 2000 season with his 350th win at Oklahoma, accomplished the 400-win milestone quicker than any other OU head baseball coach in school history.

The 400-win mark is the second time in his career that Cochell has achieved the feat. As the head coach at Oral Roberts (1977-1986), Cochell amassed 428 wins in 10 seasons with the Golden Eagles.

What A Week!

Greg Dobbs put together his best offensive week of the season last week. Over the four game stretch versus Texas-Arlington and No. 25 Texas, the senior first baseman recorded a hit in every game, including three multi-hit performances. Dobbs also scored at least one run in all but one of the four games last week.

His top performance came against UTA where he produced a career-high five hits and also tied a school record for hits in a game. Dobbs also contributed two runs scored and set a season high in RBIs with four versus the Mavericks. Dobbs then baffled Longhorn pitching by collecting three hits in each of the first two games of the series against UT. His three hits were team highs in both contests.

The Moreno Valley, Calif., native led the team in average, hits and RBIs for the week and also swiped two bases over the four games.

On The Verge

Junior Rocky Cherry is six appearances shy of breaking Oklahoma's all-time appearances record of 68. Cherry currently sits tied for fifth place on the list with Darrell Rogers (1982-85) with 63 career appearances. The all-time mark is owned by Casey Mendenhall who pitched for OU from 1990-1992.

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.

DIAMOND NOTES

* Head Coach Larry Cochell picked up his 400th victory at the helm of the Oklahoma Sooners in Wednesday's 7-2 win over Texas-Arlington.

* Senior first baseman Greg Dobbs tied a school record for hits in a game with five against UTA, also setting a career high. The record is shared by 20 other former Sooner players.

* Shortstop Sergio Garcia continues to improve his fielding. Garcia has only committed one error in 40 chances over the last two weeks.

* Garcia is also swinging a hot bat. The junior is currently riding a career-high six game hitting streak in which he is batting .455 (10-for-22) with two runs scored and five RBIs.

* Freshman starting pitcher Buddy Blair put on his best performance of the season last Tuesday at UTA. Blair worked four innings, allowed only two hits and no earned runs while walking three and striking out one.

* Sophomore Austin Mix has been hindered by nine unearned runs and only 2.20 runs per game of run support in his five losses this season.

* The Sooners' bullpen continues to improve as well. Over the last four games, the pen has posted a 3.27 ERA and has allowed only four earned runs in 11 innings pitched.

AT THE PLATE: ORAL ROBERTS

Scouting The Golden Eagles

Since defeating Oklahoma 11-4 two weeks ago, Oral Roberts has compiled a 4-3 record over its last seven games. On the year, ORU is 15-6 overall and has yet to begin its Mid-Continent Conference schedule. Most recently, the Golden Eagles, who have only won one road game in four tries this season, split a two-game set against Southwest Missouri State last weekend.

Offensively, ORU is batting .283 as a team with 16 home runs and 153 runs scored. Junior outfielder Matt Colin leads the club with a .365 batting average and has scored 18 runs and driven in 13 more. Fellow junior outfielder Wilton Reynolds provides the power in the ORU lineup as he leads the team in extra-base hits with 12.

On the mound, Golden Eagle hurlers have combined for a 3.70 ERA and have struck out 224 batters in 185 innings of work. Junior righthander Michael Rogers, who is projected to start against OU, leads the staff in several categories including ERA (1.75), starts (6), complete games (1), innings pitched (46.1), strikeouts (71) and opposing batting average (.195).

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 two weeks ago at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa. Offensively, OU out hit ORU. 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 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.