ARLINGTON, Texas -- The No. 21 Oklahoma baseball team won its eighth straight game of the season with a 8-0 victory over UT-Arlington at Clay Gould Ballpark on Tuesday. The win improved the Sooners’ record to 17-4 while the Mavericks fell to 7-14. It was the first time this season that UTA was shut out and the fourth shut out for the Sooners in 2006.
The OU offense gave starter Ryan Mottern (2-1) plenty of run support after scoring three runs in the second inning, four in the fourth frame and one more tally in the sixth inning. OU collected nine hits in the game opposite UTA’s five.
“The coaching staff was a little concerned about this game with the Arizona State series looming this weekend,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “After tonight’s performance, we are extremely proud of the way we prepared for this game and how we performed. I think a lot of that can be attributed to our seniors and their leadership.”
Tuesday night’s scoring continued a season-long trend that has seen the Sooners score over 70 percent of their runs from the second inning through the sixth frame. In OU’s 21 games this season, the offense has scored 119 of its 165 runs in that five-inning span.
Mottern was solid for the second straight start, as he established a career high in strikeouts with seven on Tuesday. Last Tuesday in Forth Worth, Texas, Mottern sat down five TCU batters to top his previous high of four. Against UTA, Mottern lasted five innings and allowed just three hits and surrendered one walk.
The Sooners wasted no time in taking the first lead of the game with three runs in the second inning. Joe Dunigan started the scoring, as he singled to right field and plated two runs, but only collected one RBI as UTA’s right fielder committed a two-base error. Later in the frame, Kody Kaiser put the Sooners up 3-0 with a single to left-center field to bring home Dunigan.
In the fourth inning, Aaron Reza produced a sacrifice fly to center field and plated Russell Raley, who connected for a triple to lead off the inning. That brought up Ryan Rohlinger who increased OU’s cushion to 7-0 with a long ball over the left-field fence, with Kody Kaiser and Aaron Ivey on the bases, to produce his team leading fifth home run of the season and raise his RBI total to 18, also a team best.
Austin Bridges (2-3) made the start for UTA and was one of eight pitchers used by the Mavericks. Bridges lasted two innings and gave up three earned runs off four hits and one walk.
During the Sooners’ eight-game winning streak, they are averaging over 8.5 runs per game with 69 tallies in that span off of 92 hits. Rohlinger has had the most success during the team’s run, with 12 RBI off 14 hits, including three home runs and four doubles.
Rohlinger and Caufield led the Sooners on Tuesday with two hits apiece on Tuesday. Rohlinger had a game-high three RBI while Caufield drove in a run.
The Sooners’ bullpen, consisting of Nate Hammons, Joseph Hughes, Jimmy Rollins and Chris Henry combined to limit the Mavs to two hits, while striking out three batters.
“I thought our pitchers were outstanding tonight,” added Golloway. “That all starts with Ryan (Mottern) who continues to improve with each outing. Our bullpen was solid as well, especially in a situation where you are up big and it is easy to lose focus, but they didn’t and were very effective throughout.
“Now our attention turns to this weekend when we play three games at Arizona State. We have not had much success against them in recent years and we are looking to change that.”
OU will head to Tempe, Ariz., to battle No. 11 (Collegiate Baseball) Arizona State in a three-game series over the weekend. The Sun Devils are coming off a 3-0 weekend that saw them defeat Texas A&M (CC), Rice and TCU. The Sun Devils were in Austin, Texas on Tuesday to battle the No. 16 Longhorns.