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March 15, 2001

A CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA

Sooners Head To Waco To Face Bears

Oklahoma (8-14, 4-2 Big 12) and Baylor (16-6, 4-2 Big 12) enter this weekend's series tied for third place in the league standings. The Sooners and Bears will battle for position in the conference when the series begins on Friday night at 7 p.m. The three-game set then continues with games on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Last Time Out

Oklahoma was forced to use seven pitchers who were plagued by a season-high 10 walks in an 11-4 loss to Oral Roberts Tuesday afternoon 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.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .300 with 23 home runs and 136 RBIs ... As of March 12, OU stood in fifth place in the Big 12 Conference in hitting and ranked first in hitting in conference games only with a .333 average ... Last week (against Creighton and Texas A&M), OU's offense averaged 11.60 hits and 7.20 runs per game ... On the year, the club is averaging 10.41 hits per game, 1.59 doubles per game, 1.05 home runs per game and 6.45 runs per game ... The offense has recorded five double digit-hit and three double digit-run performances over the last eight games ... Every member of the regular starting lineup has belted a home run this season ... On the season, Oklahoma has produced 39 RBIs with two outs in an inning ... Junior designated hitter Charlie Frasier leads the team in the category with seven.

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.54 ERA and has allowed 114 earned runs in 185.1 innings pitched ... As of March 12, OU stood in ninth place in the Big 12 Conference in staff ERA and seventh in league games only ... The staff allowed 26 runs to score during the final three innings over five games combined last week ... In comparison, the opposition only scored 18 runs through the first six frames over that span ... The staff is surrendering 11.2 hits per game, 7.4 runs per game and 4.2 walks per game on the year ... Eight different pitchers have received starting assignments ... Sophomore righty Austin Mix leads all hurlers with 40 strikeouts.

Tough Loss

Starting leftfielder Bryan King suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee while running the basepaths during Sunday's series finale against Texas A&M and will be lost to the team for the rest of the season. The senior currently ranks third on the team in hitting with a .333 mark, is first in slugging percentage at .583 and doubles with eight, second in runs scored with 19 and third in RBIs with 16 on the year. King is also tied for the club lead in stolen bases with six.

King transferred to Oklahoma after the 2000 season from Arkansas, where, as a junior, he hit .274, cracked three home runs and drove in 23 runs, while scoring 26 more.

Freshman Ryan Welborn is projected to fill the starting role vacated by King. Welborn is currently hitting at a .357 (5-for-14) clip with four runs scored and one RBI in nine games played.

Stepping Up

Junior righthander Rocky Cherry has turned in strong pitching performances in his last two starts for a pitching staff that has picked up most of its wins in relief. After beginning the season making five relief appearances, Cherry has earned two starts in his last three outings and has posted a 2-0 record over in the two starts to improve his 2001 record to 4-1, which leads the team. In his two starts, the Coppell, Texas, native has posted a 2.08 ERA, allowed 12 hits and three earned runs in 13 innings pitched, while striking out five and issuing only one walk.

Appearing in a starting role is nothing new to Cherry who has split time in both starting and relief roles during his three-year career at Oklahoma. Over his last 11 decisions, Cherry is 9-2 during that time dating back to the middle of last season.

DIAMOND NOTES

* The team dropped their third-straight home series to Texas A&M last weekend since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997.

* The defense committed 10 errors over five games last week.

* The Sooners went 6-5 over the recent 11-game homestand.

* Head Coach Larry Cochell is two wins shy of 400 victories at Oklahoma.

* OU has the same Big 12 Conference record (4-2) through the first two league series this year that it had a year ago.

* Junior pitcher Rocky Cherry currently sits in sixth place on OU's career appearances list with 61 outings over the last three years. Cherry is eight appearances shy of breaking the all-time mark of 68 set by Casey Mendenhall (1990-92).

* Starting leftfielder Bryan King, batting .333 on the year and third on the squad in RBIs, suffered a torn ACL while running the bases in Sunday's game and will be lost for the remainder of the season.

* Over Austin Mix's last three starts, in which he has two losses, the Sooner offense is only averaging 1.67 runs per game.