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Sooners Drop Season Opener Against Gonzaga, 8-5
February 12, 2005

SURPRISE, Ariz., -- The OU baseball team lost its season opener in Surprise, Ariz., 6-5, against Gonzaga (2-2) on Saturday.  The game was the first of the 2005 Coca-Cola Classic which was originally slated to begin on Friday.  In the day’s other arly game, Arizona State topped South Alabama, 7-2.  The Sooners are currently in action against the Sun Devils in game two of the doubleheader, which started at 5 p.m. (CST).

Game 1 Box  |  Game 2 Live Stats

OU jumped out to an early lead in the first frame after senior Eric Thornton’s double down the right field line scored junior Russell Raley (2B). 

Gonzaga battled right back in the third inning, recording two runs off junior college transfer John Brownell courtesy of a solo homer by Jackson Brennan and another from a bases-loaded balk.  The Sooners’ opening day starter pitched four innings and allowed eight hits, four runs (all earned), struck out two batters and walked two.  The Bulldogs third and fourth runs off Brownell came in the next frame on a two-run double by Scott Campbell.

Another junior college transfer, Will Savage, took over on the mound in the fifth inning and put together a solid performance out of the OU bullpen.  Savage showed great control and went four-plus innings, in which he struck out four batters and allowed two runs.  Unfortunately for the newcomer, he recorded the loss after junior P.J. Sandoval allowed three runs in the ninth inning to end the contest.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, it appeared like OU would avenge last year’s opening day lost to Gonzaga (15-5), also in the Coca-Cola Classic, when freshman Joe Dunigan powered a three-run homerun over the left-center field fence to put the Sooners on top 6-5. 

Then it was up to Sandoval to close out the game in the ninth, taking over for Savage with one out and the bases loaded.  Gonzaga’s Jeff Culpepper helped Gonzaga regain the lead with a single that scored two runs and the Bulldogs added an insurance run on a Bobby Carlson solo homerun. 

OU falls to 0-1 on the young season and will continue action in the 2005 Coca-Cola Classic with ASU on Saturday and South Alabama on Sunday.  Tomorrow’s action versus South Alabama will get started at noon (CST) against a Jaguar team that is also 0-1.  The game is set to be broadcast on the Sooners’ new home on the radio, KOKC 1520 AM with play-by-play announcer Chuck Kelly with the call. The broadcasts will start 10 minutes before the scheduled start time and will also be available on SoonerSports.com via the O-Zone.

OU will start the home portion of the schedule next weekend against Eastern Illinois.  The three-game series will start on Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park at 1 p.m. and will be followed with games on Sunday (1 p.m.) and Monday (3 p.m.).

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