OKLAHOMA CITY--Oklahoma juniors Ryan Rohlinger (3B), Garrett Patterson (SP) and Russell Raley (2B) were named to the All-Big 12 Second Team while senior Eric Thornton (utility), juniors Will Savage (RP), Daniel McCutchen (SP), Kevin Smith (DH) and freshman Kody Kaiser (OF) received honorable mention.
The teams were announced by the conference office on Wednesday, the first day of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.
Rohlinger, Raley, McCutchen, Thornton are all repeat members as Raley was a first team member at second base a year ago, Thornton a second team member as a designated hitter and Rohlinger (SS) and McCutchen (RP) were both named honorable mention in 2004.
Savage, Smith and Kaiser are making their first appearances on the conference's honoree list. In their first seasons at OU, all three players have made immediate impacts on this year's club.
Rohlinger, OU's leader in every offensive category, is enjoying his best season as a Sooner and has hit safely in 17 of the last 20 games (8 home runs and 19 RBI in that span).
The West Bend, Wisc., native finished the regular season as the team’s leader in batting average (.355), hits (75), runs (47), home runs (10), RBI (49) and slugging percentage (.578). He is the first player in the last three years to record 10 or more home runs in a season for OU. Charlie Frasier and Jason Fransz were the last Sooners to hit 10 or more homers in a season. In 2002, Fransz had 15 round trippers and Frasier was second on the team with 12.
Raley, a permanent fixture in the Sooners' lineup for the last three seasons, has proven to be one of OU's best clutch hitters this year. The Uvalde, Texas native is hitting .387 with runners in scoring position, .397 with two out (16 two-out RBI) and .800 (4-for-5) with the bases loaded. In addition he’s come up 19 times with a runner at third and less than two out, and he’s driven in that runner 15 times.
Raley, a career .300 hitter in a Sooner uniform, is enjoying a more productive offensive season than a year ago when he was named to the first team. Raley has one more homer and 15 more RBI this season, compared to 2004, in eight less games. Last Friday against Texas Tech, a streak of 111 consecutive games with a start came to an end due to soreness in Raley's right ankle. Raley is listed as day-to-day for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament.
Left-hander Garrett Patterson (6-2, 3.28 ERA) adjusted to his new role as a reliever in the Sooners’ bullpen by recording two saves (Kansas and Wichita State) and a win (Missouri) in his seven relief appearances since leaving the starting rotation on March 18 against Arizona State. Patterson left that game with a lower-abdominal strain, but has since returned and pitched effectively in relief. In 14 innings out of the bullpen, Patterson struck out 22 and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and 13 walks.
The McAlester, Okla., native has started three games since and recorded a pair of wins in his last two starts against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. In those two games, he struck out nine batters in 11 innings while allowing four runs on six hits. In his other start against Nebraska, Patterson struck out four but suffered a loss after giving up five runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk.
McCutchen, a Norman native, has proven to be one of the Big 12 confernce's best starting pitcher after putting together his best starts against conference foes in 2005. In his six Big 12 starts, McCutchen has a 2-2 record and has struck out 48 batters in 44 2/3 innings pitched. In addition, he has allowed 15 runs (eight earned) on 36 hits and 11 walks. His ERA in that span is 1.61 and opponents are hitting just .222 off him. In his last seven outings, the Norman native has 56 strikeouts, opposite 13 walks, in 48 2/3 innings.
Beginning with a season-high four RBI against Texas Christian on April 12, Thornton, a McCloud, Okla, native has 23 RBI in the last 24 games. The slugger drove in 39 a season ago and currently has 43. Thornton’s RBI total this season ranks second on the team and when looking at Big 12 games, the McCloud, Okla., native is tied for third on the team with Russell Raley at 13.
Savage (West Hills, Calif.) has become OU’s go-to guy in the bullpen. The junior earned four saves in his four appearances last week against Northern Colorado and Texas Tech. Savage has now appeared in 12 of OU’s last 13 games and has only given up one run and one walk in his last eight appearances.
Since heading to the bullpen on April 16, Savage has made 16 appearances spanning 35 2/3 innings. In those innings of work, he has posted a 1.01 ERA, recorded a 5-0 mark and five saves, allowed nine runs (four earned) on 33 hits and four walks while striking out 18 batters. In 135 at-bats, hitters have a .244 average against Savage. He currently leads the team in wins (8), appearances (30), innings pitched (87) and ranks third in strikeouts (52) and has allowed just 16 walks in 341 at-bats.
Smith, a native of La Mirada, Calif., is third on the team in batting average (.306) and RBI (40) and has had a lot of success at home, where the Sooners are 24-5 this season. Thirty-three of Smith’s 40 RBI have come at home. The junior is hitting .354 with a .596 slugging percentage in those 29 games.
Smith started off the season as OU's starting third baseman and has recently taken over as the team's designated hitter. He has played in all but one of OU's games and started 46 of them. The slugger is currently riding a six-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games. He has collected five of his homers in the last nine games.
Freshman Kody Kaiser started off the season on a nine-game hitting streak, ending on March 4 against UCLA, but he has continued to hit the ball well in his first season at OU. The freshman has started all 55 of the Sooners’ games this season and has hit safely in all but 15 of those games. He is second on the team with 68 hits and sixth with a batting average of .298.
The Edmond, Okla., has come within one hit of completing the cycle on two occasions this season and has collected 14 multiple-hit games. In just his fifth collegiate game (vs. Eastern Illinois), Kaiser led off the game with a triple and added a double and a home run in his next two at-bats before grounding out to second base in his last chance at the cycle. On Feb. 28 against Western Illinois, Kaiser started with a double, triple and a single but could not come up with a homer in his final at bat.