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Road to Omaha Begins Friday in Norman
May 31, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma baseball team (40-19, 17-10 Big 12), which is ranked as high as No. 13 this week by Collegiate Baseball, begins postseason play this Friday in the 2006 NCAA Norman Regional against TCU (38-21).  First pitch between the No. 1 seeded Sooners and No. 4 seeded Horned Frogs is slated for 7 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Game one on Friday between No. 2 seed Houston (39-20) and No. 3 seed Wichita State (44-20) is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.  The winners of Friday’s games will square off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, while the loser’s bracket will get underway at 1 p.m. 

The winner of the Norman Regional will face the winner of the Houston Regional (Rice, Arizona State, Baylor and Prarie View A&M) in NCAA Super Regional play next weekend.

OU Notes (PDF) | Tickets Online | NCAA Regional Central

MEDIA EXPOSURE
All of this weekend’s games can be broadcast live on KOKC 1520 AM with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play and DeWayne Vaughn providing the color analysis.  Pre-game coverage begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
 
Live video and audio of OU's games will be available for free at SoonerSports.com. Follow the links at NCAA Regional Central.
 
In addition, live statistics for all of the games in the Norman Regional and the entire NCAA Tournament can be viewed on NCAASports.com.

REGIONAL TICKETS
Tickets for this weekend’s NCAA Regional are on sale at Soonersports.com and through the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 456-4668.  Reserved seats for the regional are sold out, but general admission seating still remains. 

UPDATING THE SOONERS
The Sooners’ struggles at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark continued as they dropped their first two games of the 2006 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.  OU finished the year with a 1-4 mark at the “Brick” in Oklahoma City. 

Kansas’s Kodiak Quick silenced the Sooners’ bats in a 7-2 victory.  Quick surrendered one earned run off seven hits throughout seven innings of work.  Against Missouri, OU’s offense was shut out for the fourth time this season (Texas and OSU-twice) and was run ruled, 11-0, in seven frames.  Missouri’s Max Scherzer tossed seven innings of four-hit baseball.

OU salvaged the week with a 21-6 run-rule victory over Oklahoma State in the final game of the championship.  The win moved OU’s record in the Big 12 Championship against OSU to 6-0 and the Sooners have outscored the Cowboys 64-28 in those contests.

SCOUTING NO. 2 SEED HOUSTON
The Cougars enter Norman with their first NCAA Regional berth since 2003 after finishing as the runner-up at the Conference USA Tournament last weekend at Reckling Park.

-Offensively,  Houston is led by junior Brad Lincoln’s 52 RBI (.292, 14 HR).  Senior Isa Garcia (4 HR, 30 RBI) has the top average on the club with a .356 clip and senior Matt Weston (.313, 49 RBI) is tops in home runs with 15.

-In game one of the regional, UH is expected to throw Lincoln.  The staff’s ace, who also dubs as the team’s designated hitter, is 12-1 with a 1.64 ERA.  In 121 innings pitched, the righty has struck out 147 and walked 27.

-Houston is coached by Rayner Noble, who is in his 12th year at the Cougars’ helm.  In that span, he is 429-303 (.586) and has made six prior NCAA Regional appearances and three Super Regional berths.

-Since 1963, the Sooners and Cougars have met 18 times, with OU holding a 13-5 advantage (7-2 in Norman).   They have not met since 2000, when OU won in Norman and Houston.  The two clubs also met in two district tournaments in 1951 (National Championship) and 1953.  OU swept three games during their title run over Houston in 1951 and went 1-2 in 1953.

SCOUTING NO. 3 SEED WICHITA STATE
The Shockers enter the NCAA Tournament after going 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.  Before the tourney, WSU rattled off five straight wins and is 9-5 since meeting OU last on May 2.

-Offensively,  the Shockers are led by sophomore Matt Brown’s 54 RBI (.338, 3 HR).  Sophomore Damon Sublett leads the team with a .394 average and 10 homers.

-In its first game, Wichita State is expected to throw freshman Aaron Shafer (10-3, 2.73 ERA, 74 SO, 19 BB, 92.1 IP) against Houston.

-Wichita State is coached by Gene Stephenson, who is in his 29th season at the Shockers’ helm.   He is 1,550-509-3 (.752) in that span and is making his 24 th NCAA appearance with Shockers.  WSU has also advanced to seven College World Series under Stepheson.

-WSU leads the all-time series with OU, 10-7 and swept the 2006 season meetings with a 12-2 win in Norman and 9-5 victory in Wichita.  OU is 1-1 against WSU in the NCAA Tournament, suffering a 8-4 loss in the 2002 Wichita Regional and winning an 8-4 contest in the 1992 CWS.

SCOUTING NO. 4 SEED TCU
For the third straight season, the Horned Frogs will make an appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament.   The Frogs are the only Mountain West Conference team to earn a berth into the 2006 Tournament and they are 19-6 since they last met OU on April 11.

-Offensively,  junior Chad Huffman leads TCU in every major offensive category (.388 BA, 18 HR, 69 RBI, .765 SLG%).

-Sophomore Jake Arrieta (13-4, 2.45 ERA) is expected to take the mound against OU.  Arrieta, who leads the nation in wins, has 103 strikeouts and 36 walks in 102 2/3 innings pitched this year.

-TCU is coached by Jim Schlossnagle, who is in his third season at the Frogs’ helm and is 118-67 (.638) in that span.  The 2006 Regional appearance is the fourth in school history and third under Schlossnagle.  

-TCU and OU have met every year for the past 15 seasons.  Since 1991, OU is 23-8 and leads the all-time series 52-24.  OU swept the two 2006 regular season meetings (10-5 at TCU and 12-11 in Norman).    The two have never met in the NCAA Tournament.

OU SERVES AS NCAA REGIONAL HOST
For just the third time in program history, the University of Oklahoma was awarded to host an NCAA Regional in Norman this weekend.  The Sooners previously hosted in 1975 and 1977 before L. Dale Mitchell Park was built in 1982.  OU has also hosted on three other occasions in Oklahoma City (last time was in 2004).  The Sooners will be making its first appearance as the No. 1 seed in an NCAA Regional this Friday since the 1994 season, the last time OU won the College World Series.

SOONERS’ NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
OU will be making its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 30th overall in program history.  The Sooners, who have never advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals which was originated in 1999, is 61-55 all-time in the NCAA Tourney.    Oklahoma last won the National Championship in 1994 and captured its first title in 1951.  OU is one of 12 schools to win multiple national titles in Division I baseball.

CURRENT BIG 12 COACHES IN THEIR FIRST YEAR
OU’s Sunny Golloway has enjoyed a lot of success in his first year of coaching in the Big 12 with the second best winning percentage among current coaches as compared with their first year.  Below is a look at those numbers:

School/Coach                             Year,  Record (%)
Nebraska Mike Anderson        2003,  47-18 (.723)
Oklahoma Sunny Golloway      2006,  40-19 (.678)
Oklahoma St. Frank Anderson 2004,  38-24 (.612)
Texas Augie Garrido                1997,   29-22 (.568)
Kansas Ritch Price                   2003,  35-28 (.555)
Kansas State Brad Hill             2005,  30-25 (.545)
Baylor Steve Smith                  1995,  25-28 (.471)
Texas A&M Rob Childress      2006,  25-30-1 (.455)
Texas Tech Larry Hays            1987,  21-28 (.428)
Missouri Tim Jamieson             1995,  19-34 (.358)

TOP 25
After being ranked in each of the four major polls on March 13, 2006 for the first time since April 19, 2004, the Oklahoma baseball team remained in the all four rankings for the 12th consecutive week.  For the 13th consecutive week, OU was ranked in the top 30 by both Collegiate Baseball magazine and the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s (NCBWA) polls.  OU is No. 13 in Collegiate Baseball and No. 15 in the NCBWA poll.  In the USA Today/ESPN poll, OU dropped two spots to No. 15 slot and Baseball America has the Sooners at No. 17.  Refer to page six for a complete week-by-week breakdown of the rankings.

USA Today | Baseball America | Collegiate Baseball | NCBWA

OKLAHOMA/BIG 12 RPI’s
Although not official, Boydsworld.com provides a weekly pseudo RPI system.  OU is ranked No. 9 in this week’s ranking released on Wednesday, May 31.  The Big 12 is rated the No. 2 power conference in the nation and is right behind SEC and slightly ahead of the ACC.  Texas (No. 5) and Nebraska (No. 7) are the only Big 12 teams ahead of OU.  This weekend’s Norman Regional participants - Houston, Wichita State and TCU are ranked 20th, 45th, and 71st, respectively.

NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS
In the last NCAA statistical rankings, released on Tuesday, May 30, Oklahoma was listed as the best team in terms of fielding percentage (.982) for the sixth consecutive week.    In addition, OU was tied for 30th in terms of winning percentage (.678), and 15th in batting average (.324). Individually, Steven Guerra has the fourth most wins in the nation (10), tied with 28 others.  Fifteen pitchers have 11 wins, eight have won 12 and two have 13.

BEST IN THE BIG 12
The Sooners knew heading into 2006 that the defense would be solid with all but one position starter returning from 2005.  So far after 59 games, OU owns the best fielding percentage in the Big 12 (.982), has committed the fewest errors (39) and is tied for fifth in double plays turned (50).  OU has finished 245games this season without an error and is 20-5 in those contests.

EIGHT SOONERS NAMED TO ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
 For the fourth time in program history, OU placed eight or more members on the Big 12 teams (1998, 2004 and 2005).   Oklahoma seniors Chuckie Caufield (OF), Steven Guerra (SP), Daniel McCutchen (SP), Ryan Rohlinger (3B), Russell Raley (2B) and Kevin Smith (1B) and sophomore Aaron Reza (utility) were named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, while sophomore Jackson Williams (C) received honorable mention.  McCutchen, Rohlinger and Raley were selections on the coaches’ team for the past two years while Smith was an honorable mention last season. Caufield, Guerra, Reza and Williams made their first appearances on the conference’s honoree list. 

REGULAR SEASON WINS
 OU closed out the regular season with Nebraska and recorded its 39th of the year, marked the most in program history since the 1989 team won 42 games in the regular season.  The 2006 regular season win total also tied the 39 won by the 1994 team, which went on to win the College World Series.

SOONERS SET BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD
OU’s 21 runs on Saturday against Oklahoma State was a Big 12 Championship record (previosuly held by the Sooners who tallied 19 against Texas Tech in the 1997 title game) and the most OU had scored in a game since it tallied 21 on March 8, 2005 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  Saturday’s offensive output tied the most runs Oklahoma has scored in the 276 Bedlam contests.  The 21 runs on Saturday matched the same amount scored on March 31, 1985, a game that saw the Sooners record its largest margin of victory in the all-time series (21-3). 

SMITH AND ROHLINGER COMBINE FOR 112 RBI
Ryan Rohlinger surpassed the 50-RBI mark on Saturday against OSU, ending an eight-game RBI drought.  Rohlinger now has 53 and is the first Sooner to record back-to-back 50-RBI seasons since Casey Bookout (1999-60, 1998-76).  Rohlinger led the team last year with 53 RBI.  Kevin Smith (59 RBI) also ended a drought of nine games without an RBI on Saturday with a four-RBI performance and he combines with Rohlinger to become the first pair of Sooners to record 50 RBI each in a season since Greg Dobbs (62) and Charlie Frasier (57) accomplished that feat during the 2001 season.

IVEY AND ROHLINGER NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
Junior Aaron Ivey and senior Ryan Rohlinger were named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Baseball Second Team released Tuesday by the College Sports Information Directors of America.  Ivey and Rohlinger were both eligible for the national award after being named First Team All-District VI members on May 11.  The pair become the first Sooners to be honored on an Academic All-America Team since Casey Bookout, who was a third-team member in 1997.

The last second-team member at Oklahoma was Greg Carlton (1982), the Sooners third second-team member in program history.  Only two other former Sooners (Booby Jack-1972 and Matt Anderson-1988) have earned first-team honors at OU.

CAUFIELD NAMED SEMI-FINALST FOR POY AWARD
Senior Chuckie Caufield joined a field of 30 players that will look to win the 2006 Brooks Wallace College Player of the Year Award this July.  The semi-finalist list will be cut to three on June 15.

 

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