Feb. 21, 2001

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A CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA

Sooners Begin Conference Play

OU opens Big 12 Conference play this weekend as the Kansas Jayhawks come to Norman for a three-game set. Scheduled first pitches for the series are 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The series also begins a stretch of the Oklahoma schedule in which the Sooners play 11 of the next 12 games at home. Oklahoma won two of the three contests played between the two schools last year. The Jayhawks ended the Sooners nine-game winning streak last season with their win in the series finale.

Last Time Out

The Oklahoma baseball team dropped its seventh-straight game as the Sooners fell, 6-1, to TCU Tuesday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU starting pitcher David Tombrella (1-1) held the OU offense to only six hits and one run in eight innings pitched. Senior catcher Sean Smith (0-for-1), making his first start behind the plate, scored the Sooners lone run of the game in the seventh inning when freshman second baseman Matt Fisher (1-for-3) delivered a RBI single to bring Smith home from second base. Fisher, who recorded his first collegiate hit, was also making his first start of the season at second base. Senior first baseman Greg Dobbs led the Sooners offensively with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Junior righthander Evan Greusel (0-1) took the loss for Oklahoma after pitching three innings and surrendering only five hits and three runs in his second start of the season.

At The Plate

As a team, Oklahoma is batting .280 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs ... As of Feb. 19, Oklahoma's batting average stood sixth best in the Big 12 Conference ... Seven different players have accounted for the 11 home runs ... Junior first baseman Charlie Frasier leads all Sooners with three homers ... Oklahoma is being out-scored 53-76 and out-hit 95-114 by the opposition ... During the San Diego Baseball Classic, the Sooners batted .299 (29-for-97) with six extra base hits and five stolen bases ... For the second-consecutive week, the team's leading hitter was junior rightfielder Zach Harris who hit .455 (5-for-11) with three runs scored and one RBI ... Bryan King ranks among the league leaders in several categories ... The senior leftfielder is tied for sixth place in doubles (4), tied for ninth in RBIs (11) and tied for fourth in stolen bases (5), as of Feb. 19.

On The Mound

The Sooner pitching staff is currently sporting a 5.63 ERA and has allowed 54 earned runs in 86.1 innings pitched ... OU has struck out 56 batters while issuing 37 walks ... Oklahoma is allowing opponents to hit .311 against them ... As of Feb. 19, the staff's ERA was eighth best in the Big 12 Conference ... Six different pitchers have received starting assignments ... The bullpen has given up 13 unearned runs and allowed five inherited runners to score ... Righty Austin Mix leads all hurlers with 16 strikeouts ... The sophomore also owns an 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

AT THE PLATE: KANSAS

Scouting The Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks will continue their season-opening road trip as they head to Norman for a weekend set. KU is 6-1 after sweeping through the Round Rock Express College Classic and winning three of four games at the Oakland A's/Rawlings Spring Training tournament last weekend. Their only loss came at the hands of Northwestern, who won a 5-4 tilt last Friday. KU returns eight starters off of last year's squad which recorded its most wins (25) and conference wins (10) since the 1997 season. Offensively, the Jayhawks return their four top hitters from 2000, including senior shortstop John Nelson, and are batting at a .308 clip with 60 runs scored, one home run and 17 stolen bases. Nelson leads all regular starters this season with a .419 (13-for-31) batting average with a team-best 10 runs scored. On the mound, senior lefty Pete Smart once again anchors the Jayhawks' pitching staff. A year ago, Smart led the staff in five categories, including wins, innings pitched, shutouts, complete games and ERA. Smart is off to a 2-0 start this season with a 1.42 ERA through his first two starts. As a team, Kansas pitchers have combined for a 4.14 ERA, four saves and 48 strikeouts in 63 innings pitched.

MORE ON OKLAHOMA

Harris Named To San Diego Classic All-Tournament Team

Rightfielder Zach Harris was named to the San Diego Classic all-tournament team following his weekend performance in which he led the Sooners in hitting with a .455 clip (5-for-11) over the three games. The junior collected a hit in every game, including a team-best 3-for-5 effort in Sunday's game against Oregon State in which he scored two runs and drove in one. Harris finished the weekend with three runs scored, one RBI and a stolen base.

Slugging Outfielders

Through OU's first 10 contests, the team's best offensive performers all roam the outfield. Centerfielder Jerome Godsey leads the team in batting average at .406, followed by rightfielder Zach Harris and leftfielder Bryan King with averages of .368 and .314, respectively. Godsey is second on the team in on-base percentage (.441), while Harris leads the team in hits (14). King is the team's top performer in four categories, including slugging percentage (.571), RBIs (11), doubles (4) and triples (1). Each member of the trio has hit a home run on the season. In addition, they have combined to account for over half of the team's stolen base total with 10 .

Surprise Performer

Senior Sean Smith, who joined the 2001 squad in the fall after being absent from college baseball for a couple of years, has become one of the team's top performers. Smith, who made his first start behind the plate on Tuesday, was the Sooners' starting designated hitter for the four games prior to TCU. In the designated hitter role, Smith batted .308 (4-for-13) with a home run and four RBIs. Smith was also the team's second-leading RBI producer over the four-game span. In his first action as the team's starting catcher, Smith went 0-for-1 at the plate, was hit by a pitch three times and scored the Sooners lone run of the game.