SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The University of Oklahoma baseball team closed out action in the 2005 Coca-Cola Spring Classic with its first win of the season, a 4-1 victory against South Alabama.
OU came away with the win after dropping two games (8-5 Gonzaga; 7-5 Arizona State) in the season opener on Saturday in Suprise, Ariz., at Suprise Stadium.
The Sooners opened the game with two runs in the second inning to take the initial lead and starter Steven Guerra was solid in his first start for OU, nailing down the victory. Guerra went six innings and allowed one run (earned) on four hits, one walk and one strikeout.
OU’s offense got started after senior Eric Thornton doubled with one out in the second frame. Fellow senior Matt Bose followed and hit into a fielder’s choice, with Thornton on second and Joe Dunigan on first (walked), and it resulted in one out and an error on the first baseman which allowed Thornton to cross the plate.
Box Score - Oklahoma 4, South Alabama 1
Bose would eventually cross the plate two hitters later as freshman Cory Williamson singled but was caught stealing with junior Chuckie Caufield at the plate. The attempt at the stolen base was squandered but it allowed enough time for Bose to find his way home to give OU a 2-0 advantage.
Guerra and the Sooners battled out of their first jam of the day when South Alabama advanced its first runner in scoring position to second base in the bottom of the fourth inning. The first batter of the inning, Stapleton, reached first on a walk and then advanced to second on a balk by Guerra. But he would retire the next three batters to keep OU in front after four innings.
The Sooners added an insurance run in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI double down the right field line by junior Russell Raley. The base-hit plated Caufield who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. With a three-run cushion, Guerra went to pitch two more solid innings of work.
After the walk in the fourth inning, Guerra went on to retire nine of the next 11 batters but surrendered a run within that span after an RBI single by Josh Morgan. The run was the second and last time that USA would advance a runner into scoring position.
The Sooners answered with an RBI single in the seventh by freshman Kody Kaiser to score Bose after the senior had singled earlier in the frame. After Guerra put the Sooners in position for their first victory of the season, freshman Brad Burns came out of the bullpen to relieve the starter in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order, including two strikeouts.
The eighth and ninth inning saw Burns do more of the same as he sat down six consecutive Jaguars, finishing the game with five total strikeouts in his first career save,
Guerra recorded the victory in his first appearance of the season while USA’s Jeramy Simmons took the loss for the Jaguars in his first trip to the mound. OU improves to 1-2 with the game while the Jaguars fall to the same mark.
Dunigan (4-for-10, HR, 3 RBI), Raley (5-for-13, RBI, 2B, run) and Guerra (1-0, 6 IP, one earned run, BB, SO) were named to the All-Tournament Team that consisted of 12 members from the four participating schools. Raley and Guerra played key roles in the Sooners’ victory on Sunday while Dunigan hit his first career home run against Gonzaga in game one of the tournament.
OU will return to action for the home opener at L. Dale Mitchell Park against Eastern Illinois. The three-game series will start on Saturday in Norman at 1 p.m. and will be followed with games on Sunday (1 p.m.) and Monday (3 p.m.).