Sooners Do The Texas Two-Step This Week

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 20, 2001

March 20, 2001

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Oklahoma Does Texas Two-Step This Week

Oklahoma (9-16, 5-4 Big 12) heads to the state of Texas this week to face Texas-Arlington (19-4) and the University of Texas (16-12, 6-3 Big 12). OU's contest versus UTA, a makeup of a game rained out on Feb. 27, is slated for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Allan Saxe Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Sooners will then battle the Longhorns over the weekend in baseball's version of the Red River Rivalry. The series begins on Friday at 6:30 p.m., continues Saturday at 2 p.m. and concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games will be played at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas.

Last Time Out

Oklahoma rallied for two runs in the ninth inning before falling 5-3 to No. 16 Baylor Sunday afternoon in the baseball series finale at Baylor Ballpark. OU was hindered by three errors, which led to three unearned runs, and eight baserunners stranded in scoring position during the game. The Bears won the weekend series, 2-1.

The two teams played a tight ballgame through five innings and were knotted at one apiece at the end of five innings. Both teams scored their initial runs on solo homers by their outfielders. Baylor centerfielder Chris Durbin blasted his shot in the third inning and Oklahoma rightfielder Zach Harris (2-for-4) launched his home run in the fifth frame.

Baylor opened the game up with two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings before Oklahoma mounted a comeback in the top of the ninth inning. Harris led off the ninth with a single and advanced to second on an error by Baylor leftfielder Tim Hartshorn on the same play. A batter later, junior shortstop Sergio Garcia (3-for-4) doubled home Harris and eventually scored himself on a RBI single by junior designated hitter Charlie Frasier (1-for-4). Zane Carlson, the Bears' sophomore closer, then struck out the next two batters to end the Sooner rally.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .293 with 24 home runs and 143 RBIs ... In Big 12 Conference games, the squad is hitting .302 with nine home runs and 51 RBIs ... As of March 18, OU stood in fifth place in the Big 12 in hitting and ranked second 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 10.12 hits, 6.04 runs, 1.56 doubles and nearly a home run per game at .96 ... The Sooner offense batted only .238, against the Big 12 Conference's top pitching team, over the Baylor series and generated 24 hits and scored nine runs ... Senior centerfielder Jerome Godsey was the team's leading hitter over the week ... Godsey batted .400 (6-for-15) with a run scored and a triple to his credit.

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.40 ERA and has allowed 131 earned runs in 218.1 innings pitched ... In Big 12 Conference games only, the staff owns a 4.56 ERA with 40 earned runs given up in 79 innings pitched ... On the average, the Sooners are surrendering 10.8 hits, 7.0 runs and 4.1 walks per game while striking out 5.9 batters a contest ... As of March 18, OU stood in ninth place in the Big 12 in staff ERA and sixth in league games only ... Over the three-game set at Baylor, Oklahoma's bullpen trio of freshman Mark Roberts, sophomore Brandon Hankins and senior Austin Coose threw a combined 3.2 innings of scoreless relief and issued only one walk and struck out four ... Roberts, the team's closer, picked up his second save of the season on Saturday in shutting down the Bears over 1.2 innings of work ... Roberts fanned three of the four batters he faced ... Junior pitcher Rocky Cherry picked up his third-consecutive win, in as many starts, on Saturday to improve his team-leading record to 5-1.


* Saturday's 3-2 win at No. 16 Baylor was OU's first road win of the season.

* The Sooners have won their last four-straight Saturday games.

* Opponents were unsuccessful at running on OU last week. Opposing baserunners were a combined 0-for-4 in steal attempts over the last four games against senior catcher Sean Smith (0-3) and junior catcher Chris Haggard (0-1). Freshman pitcher Buddy Blair also picked off a would-be basestealer at ORU on Tuesday.

* Junior shortstop Sergio Garcia, who owns the team's lowest individual fielding percentage at .897, went errorless in 17 chances over the four games last week.

* Head Coach Larry Cochell is one win shy of 400 victories at Oklahoma.

* Junior pitcher Rocky Cherry currently sits in sixth place on OU's career appearances list with 62 outings over the last three years. Cherry is seven appearances shy of breaking the all-time mark of 68 set by Casey Mendenhall (1990-92).

* Assistant coach Bill Mosiello resigned due to personal reasons last weekend during the Baylor series.


Heart Of The Order

Junior designated hitter Charlie Frasier has been an offensive force in the middle of the Sooners' lineup all season long. Batting out of the four hole, Frasier currently ranks in the top five of every major team offensive category, except triples, and also ranks among the league leaders in the Big 12 Conference in several categories.

Frasier leads the Sooners in slugging percentage at .591, RBIs with 28, home runs with seven, total bases with 55 and is tied for walks on the club with 14. Frasier's numbers rank him second in the Big 12 in home runs, tied for fifth in RBIs and tied for sixth in total bases.

The Napa, Calif., native is currently batting .301with 18 runs scored and six doubles. He has also driven in at least one run in nine of the last 10 games.

On The Verge

Junior Rocky Cherry is seven appearances shy of breaking Oklahoma's all-time appearances record of 68. Cherry currently sits in sixth place on the list with 62 career appearances. The all-time mark is owned by Casey Mendenhall who pitched for OU from 1990-1992.

The righthanded hurler has already thrown 10 outings on the season and has averaged two appearances per week over the last two weeks. Cherry 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.

Milestone Victory

Sitting at 399 wins as the head coach for the Sooners, Larry Cochell is one win shy of his 400th victory at OU. Cochell, who opened the 2000 season with his 350th win at Oklahoma, is on pace to accomplish the 400-win milestone quicker than any other OU head baseball coach in school history.

The 400-win mark will be 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.

Stepping Up

Junior righthander Rocky Cherry has turned in strong pitching performances in his last three 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 three starts in his last five outings and has posted a 3-0 record in those starts to improve his 2001 record to 5-1, which leads the team. In his three starts, the Coppell, Texas, native has posted a 2.21 ERA, allowed 21 hits and five earned runs in 20.1 innings pitched, while striking out nine and issuing only one walk. Opposing hitters are only batting .256 against him in those starts.

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 12 decisions, Cherry is 10-2 during that time dating back to the middle of last season.


Scouting The Mavericks

UTA, with its 19-4 overall record and 6-2 mark in the Southland Conference, is off to its best start in eight years. Entering Tuesday's game at Oral Roberts, the Mavs were winners of their last five-consecutive contests. UTA's only four losses on the season have come at the hands of Southwest Missouri State (6-2), Baylor (5-2), Northwestern State (12-8) and Southwest Texas State (7-5). The Mavericks opened the season with two upset victories over nationally-ranked opponents Arizona State and Texas and have since also knocked off nationally-ranked Baylor as well.

As a team, the Mavericks have combined solid hitting and pitching to account for their early success. UTA is batting at a .310 clip with nine home runs and 157 runs scored, while the pitching staff sports a 4.00 ERA and has given up only 93 earned runs in 209 innings pitched. Junior outfielder Junior Ramirez leads the Mavs' offensive charge with a .377 batting average, including team-leading totals of four home runs and 24 RBIs. Freshman righthander Darrell Preston, who is scheduled to start against the Sooners, will be making his second start of the season on Wednesday and has recorded a 2-0 record and a 5.00 ERA in six appearances on the season. Preston also owns an impressive 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

SERIES NOTES: Oklahoma owns an 11-2 edge over Texas-Arlington in the all-time series ... OU won both contests last year (11-8 and 11-3) and are winners of the last eight straight ... OU and UTA have played a one game home-and-home series two of the last three seasons.

Scouting the Longhorns

After dropping out of the national polls at the beginning of the season with a slow start, Texas has resurfaced as a national contender and is ranked 25th in the recent Collegiate Baseball poll. The Longhorns, who currently stand at 16-12 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12 Conference, have won three of their last four games against nationally-ranked opponents Rice and Oklahoma State.

UT, who is hitting .272 as a team with 10 home runs and 145 runs scored, is led offensively by Omar Quintanilla. The freshman infielder leads all regular starters with a .345 batting average and owns a team-best 11 doubles on the season. On the mound, Texas is projected to start junior righthander Gerrit Simpson (2-2, 1.69 ERA) on Friday, junior righthander Albert Montes (4-2, 2.03 ERA) on Saturday and freshman lefthander Justin Simmons (2-1, 2.25 ERA) in the Sunday tilt against OU.

SERIES NOTES: Texas holds a dominating 105-44-2 lead over Oklahoma in the all-time series ... Under Head Coach Larry Cochell, OU is 15-18 versus UT ... Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, the series is even at 6-6 ... The Sooners were swept in three games in their last appearance in Austin in 1999 ... Oklahoma won the rubber match in the series last year after dropping the first two ballgames.



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