FULLERTON, Calif., -- The Sooners battled from behind for the third straight game to record the 7-2 victory, their eighth straight win, over UCLA in the first game of the 2005 Kia Bash in Fullerton, Calif., at Goodwin Field.
The game, originally scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. (CST) start, did not get underway until 7:30 p.m. due to rain in the area. The long delay forced OU to bench the scheduled starter, junior Garrett Patterson, which paved the way for junior John Brownell to make his second start of the season.
UCLA took advantage of a walk and a hit batter in the first inning off Brownell by scoring two runs in the first frame. It marked the third consecutive game that OU did not score the game’s initial run. Prior to the last three contests, the Sooners had scored first in each of their first seven games.
The righty-Brownell, making his third appearance of the season, battled out of a couple of jams in the first four frames and allowed just two earned runs. Brownell walked five and struck out one as he lasted 4.1 innings.
After four unproductive innings, the Sooners finally broke through and ended Hector Ambriz’s bid for a no-hitter in the top of the fifth inning when junior Ryan Rohlinger doubled to left center to plate senior Eric Thornton. Thornton had walked earlier in the inning and after he crossed the plate, OU had its chances to take the lead by loading the bases in the inning but could not produce the go-ahead hit.
Ambriz lasted five innings and allowed just one earned run on one hit. He struck out three OU batters and walked four.
Junior Will Savage came out of the OU bullpen in the fifth with runners on first and second and produced a double-play ground ball to end the inning. Savage then went on to retire 12 of 14 batters he faced to improve his record to 2-1 in his fourth appearance of the season. He also struck out two and walked zero batters for his second consecutive appearance in which he lasted four innings or more to record the victory.
The Sooners would wait till the seventh inning to produce their next hit and it turned out to be the big inning for OU.
Junior Freddy Rodriguez singled with one out and senior Jeff Scuderi came up with a clutch hit in his first at-bat of the game, a double to left center with two outs, that brought home Rodriguez. Scuderi entered the game back in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement in the Sooner outfield. With Scuderi on second and junior Chuckie Caufield at the plate, OU took its first lead of the game off of a single by the Ada, Okla. native. Caufield advanced to second on the throw to the plate and junior Russell Raley continued the two-out rally and extended his hitting streak to ten games with a single to right field that scored Caufield.
Rodriguez produced his second hit of the game on a seeing-eye single through the left side that loaded the bases in the top of the eighth inning. That brought freshman Jackson Williams to the plate and the Broken Arrow, Okla., native drove a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Sooners ahead 5-2.
OU would add two more runs in the ninth inning for the final runs of the game and during the Sooners winning streak of eight games, they are averaging over four runs per game from the seventh inning on.
After starting the game with zero hits in the first four innings, OU went on to record 10 base knocks in the game to UCLA’s seven. Rohlinger, Rodriguez and Scuderi all finished the game with two hits a piece. UCLA’s Brian Schroeder (0-1) took the loss for the Bruins after surrendering two hits and two runs over 1.2 innings pitched.
OU improves to 8-2 while UCLA falls to 7-7 after today’s game and the Sooners will play game two of the tournament against No. 4 Cal State Fullerton at 9 p.m. (CST). That game will be aired live on KOKC 1520 AM with Chuck Kelly on the play-by-play and he will be joined by Bucky Buckles on the air, the Sooners’ closer from the 1994 National Championship team. Cal State Fullerton will play two games on Saturday after being rained out today in its game against Nevada. The CSF and Nevada game will take place at 11 a.m. (PST) on Saturday.
Live Stats will also be available for the Sooners matchup with Cal State Fullerton, the 2004 defending national champion.