NORMAN, Okla. In the first game of the Oklahoma baseball team’s annual fall classic, the Red team used a four-run fifth inning to come from behind and defeat the White squad, 5-4, in seven innings on Sunday at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Junior infielder Freddy Rodriguez drove in the game winning runs with a two-run double to cap off the Red team’s rally after they entered the bottom half of the inning trailing 2-1. The Red-White Series, which concludes OU’s four weeks of fall team practice, was also highlighed by a pair of strong pitching performances by junior righthanders Daniel McCutchen and John Brownell.
“Daniel McCutchen and John Brownell pitched extremely well in the first game,” commented OU head coach Larry Cochell.
“Both teams also played good defense and swung the bats well,” added Cochell.
Brownell (Red), a righthander, and McCutchen (White), also a righty, went toe-to-toe as the starting pitchers for their squads. Each hurler lasted at least five frames, was charged with four earned runs and threw at least 62 percent of their pitches for strikes. Brownell narrowly outperformed McCutchen in hits allowed at six hits versus seven, respectively.
Pitching coach Fred Corral was especially impressed with his starters’ command and competitiveness in the game.
“Both pitchers started off very outstanding. Their no fear of contact approach was evident by their strikeout percentage,” said Corral. “Both pitchers showed a lot of competitiveness.”
“I was very impressed with the way we attacked the strike zone as a staff. As a staff, we threw 65 percent of our pitches for strikes in the game,” Corral continued.
Junior righthander Will Savage and freshman Duncan Millington cleaned up the final 1.1 innings to clinch the win for Brownell and the Red squad. Savage relieved Brownell after he pitched 5.2 innings and secured the final out of the sixth frame. Millington came on to toss a scoreless seventh inning, allowing only one hit, to close out the game and earn the save.
Junior righty Tyler Gooch pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the White team after McCutchen left the game following five complete frames. Gooch struck out one batter and threw seven of his 12 pitches for strikes.
Several newcomers carried the Red team offensively. Freshman outfielder Blake Mitchell and junior outfielder Chuckie Caufield each turned in two-hit performances, while Rodriguez and junior outfielder Cory Williamson both doubled for their lone hits.
Sophomore infielder Chad Lembeck homered as part of his 1-for-3 effort, while senior outfielder Jeff Scuderi and freshman infielder Jared Freeman both collected doubles to help lead the White team’s offensive attack.
Cochell pointed to a pair of defensive plays that made a difference in the contest. Junior outfielder Scott Rooker robbed senior first baseman Eric Thornton of a potential extra-base hit by climbing the outfield wall to make the hit-saving grab.
Junior shortstop Ryan Rohlinger also displayed his outstanding defensive skills as he made a back-handed stop and threw out junior outfielder Chuckie Caufield by a step at first base.
The White team looks to get in the win column today as the two teams square off at 3 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Junior righthander P.J. Sandoval (White) and junior southpaw Garrett Patterson (Red) are the scheduled starters on the mound for Game Two.
The series continues later this week with games scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, 6 p.m. on Friday and the series concluding at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
All practices and games are held at L. Dale Mitchell Park and are open to the public free of charge. Times and dates are subject to change.