FORT WORTH, Texas -- The No. 23 Sooners posted 10 runs and cruised past TCU,10-5, on Tuesday night in front of 1,687 fans at Lupton Stadium to improve to 13-4 this season. OU has won three straight against the Horned Frogs and owns a 51-24 all-time record in the series. The loss dropped TCU to 8-7 this season.
Ryan Mottern (1-1) was solid in just his second start of the season and seventh of his career, with a career-high five strikeouts over five innings to earn the first win of his career.
Ryan Rohlinger provided the offense for the Sooners, including the go-ahead hit in the fifth frame, driving in four of the team’s 10 runs. Rohlinger finished 3-for-5 and currently leads the team with a .426 batting average. His four RBI performance tied a career high (fifth time in his career) and it marked the fourth time this season that a Sooner connected for four RBI in a game (Chuckie Caufield, Joseph Hughes and Ryan Mottern).
“This was a great overall team effort for a mid-week game, which are traditionally games where you use a lot of pitchers out of the bullpen,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway, who is 25-10 at the Sooners’ helm. “Our coaching staff is extremely proud of the players’ effort for playing hard in front of a hostile crowd. It was also good to see that we were able to sustain the momentum from a successful weekend (against UC Riverside) and now we have to continue it this weekend at home.”
The Sooners jumped on top early with a pair of doubles by Chuckie Caufield and Rohlinger in the third inning. Caufield’s double to left plated Freddy Rodriguez and Kevin Smith and Rohlinger followed two batters later and doubled to left field, bringing home Caufield.
TCU countered in its at-bat in the third inning with a three-run double off the bat of Andrew Walker. With the exception of that hit, Mottern was solid over five innings, allowing three runs off three hits and two walks.
Mottern rebounded on Tuesday night after making his first start in almost a year last week against Wichita State. The hurler lasted three innings against the Shockers in his first outing since missing most of 2005 after suffering a season-ending injury against TCU on March 22 in Fort Worth. Tuesday’s outing, consisting of 77 pitches (46 strikes), was the second longest of Mottern’s career, behind his March 20, 2004 start versus Texas.
With the scored tied at three runs apiece, Rohlinger singled to center field in the fifth inning, plating Caufield, who doubled earlier in the frame. Kody Kaiser put OU ahead 5-3 on a sharply hit ball to the TCU third baseman Matt Carpenter, allowing Aaron Reza to score.
Rohlinger made it 7-3 on a 1-0 pitch that he drove to over the fence in left field for his third and fourth RBI of the game. The shot was Rohlinger’s fourth long ball of the year and second in the last three games.
TCU’s Shawn Ferguson (1-2) lasted four innings in his first career start and allowed five earned runs off three hits and four walks. Ferguson struck out four batters before giving way to Omar Arif and two other Horned Frog hurlers.
TCU finally got to OU’s bullpen, which consisted of five hurlers, late in the game. Joseph Hughes, Matt Lovelady and Chris Henry held the Horned Frogs scoreless before A.T. Cole and Jimmie Rollins each allowed a run (Rollins’ unearned) in the ninth inning.
Caufield had two hits and two RBI and five other Sooners connected for a base hit. The Sooners offensive showing (10 runs on 10 hits) on Tuesday marked the fifth time this season that they scored 10 or more runs in a game and in addition, OU has knocked around 10 or more hits in 11 of their 17 games in 2006. TCU’s Bryan Kervin and Austin Adams each had two hits.
OU has won four straight games and six of its last seven contests. The Sooners return home to host Centenary this weekend for a three-game set at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Action begins on Friday at 7 p.m. and continues on Saturday at 3 p.m. The series finale is slated for a 1 p.m. start.