The Oklahoma Sooners (12-5) will carry the momentum created last weekend at home versus Northwestern State into Tempe, Ariz., against Arizona State (13-12) this weekend. The two will compete in a three-game series that starts on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by games at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All times are listed as Central.
OU, 4-1 in its last ﬁve contests, is coming off a 2-1 series win over a Northwestern State team that had won 11 of its last 12 (two over top 25 teams) before coming to Norman. The Sooners dropped the opening game in extra innings but battled back in the ﬁnal two games of the series to clinch the series victory.
All three games of the ASU series will be broadcast live on KOKC (1520 AM) with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play. Sunday’s game will be joined in progress after the OU women’s basketball NCAA tournament game versus Arizona. All times and availability are subject to change. Live stats will also be available through SoonerSports.com.
ARIZONA STATE NOTES
Record: 13-12 | Rankings: NA
Arizona State is 7-3 in its last 10 games, suffering losses to a pair of top ten teams (No. 5 LSU, twice and No. 8 Baylor). At 13-12 so far this year, only two of the Sun Devils’ defeats have come against teams not ranked in the top 25 (Oregon State and Gonzaga). ASU has played a tough schedule against several top 25 teams (No. 14 Long Beach State, No. 9 Arizona, No. 1 Tulane, No. 5 North Carolina, Baylor and LSU) and it has gone 4-10 against those opponents. Offensively, ﬁve different ASU players have recorded 15 or more RBI this season and Jeff Larish leads that group with 29 runs batted in. On the mound, Erik Averill has made the most starts (7) and he is 4-2 in those games with a 3.32 ERA and 40 strikeouts. ASU is coached by Pat Murphy in his 11th year and OU is 13-13 vs. ASU under head coach Larry Cochell.
Friday, March 18
OU - G. Patterson, LHP (3-1, 4.26 ERA)
ASU - Z. Zinicola, RHP (2-2, 5.40 ERA)
Saturday, March 19
OU - S. Guerra, RHP (2-1, 4.10 ERA)
ASU - E. Averill, LHP (4-2, 3.32 ERA)
Sunday, March 20
OU - B. Burns, RHP (1-0, 3.68 ERA)
ASU - P. Bresnehan, RHP (1-2, 4.44 ERA)
LAST MEETING WITH ASU
In the second game of the season, the Sooners faced then-No. 12 (Baseball America) Arizona State in the 2005 Coca-Cola classic held in Surprise, Ariz. In the ﬁrst inning, Eric Thornton hit an RBI single to put OU ahead 1-0. However, theSooners did not hold onto the lead for very long as ASU rallied in the bottom half of the inning for three runs off junior Daniel McCutchen, making his third career start for OU. The Sun Devils extended their lead in the bottom of the ﬁfth inning with two additional runs charged to McCutchen. The Sooners managed to tie things up with a four-run sixth inning off of a two-run double by Jackson Williams and RBI singles by Freddy Rodriguez and Jeff Scuderi. But the OU bullpen could not hold the Sun Devils at bay as they came right back with two runs off Garrett Patterson to secure the win.
ROHLINGER SWINGING A HOT BAT
Junior Ryan Rohlinger hit the second walk-off home run of his Oklahoma career on Sunday to help the Sooners top Northwestern State and give OU the series win (2-1). Rohlinger drove an 0-2 fastball over the right ﬁeld fence in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two runners on, to push the Sooners ahead 7-6 for the win. His ﬁrst career walk-off homer at OU came a year ago in head coach Larry Cochell’s 500th victory at OU. The two-run home run gave the Sooners a 7-5 win over Arkansas-Little Rock on April 27.
Rohlinger ﬁnished Sunday’s game against Northwestern State with a 2-for-3 day that included three RBI and two runs scored. The junior also extended his hitting streak to ten games with the walk-off home run. In that span, Rohlinger is hitting .548 (23 hits) with 15 RBI and a .786 slugging percentage and has also collected two doubles and two triples. He leads the team in hits (29), batting average (.414), ranks second in RBI (19), and is tied for the team lead with 19 runs scored.
SOONERS ANNOUNCE TIME CHANGES FOR TELEVISION BROADCASTS
Due to expanded television coverage, the University of Oklahoma baseball team announced today the time changes for several games set to be aired on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and Fox Sports Net.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase our program on national and regional television,” said OU head coach Larry Cochell. “The games that will be televised are already big games for us, so it should make things even more exciting for the players and the fans to take part in.”
Some of the changes include the three-game series at Texas (April 15-17), the three games against Nebraska (April 28-30) held at L. Dale Mitchell Park and the finale of the Bedlam Series on Sunday, May 15.
A complete listing of the television schedule is the following:
* game to be played at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark
COMBINED NO-HITTER MARKS FIRST IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Six different OU pitchers saw time on the mound to strike out 11 batters and record the ﬁrst combined no-hitter in school history on March 9 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Sooners’ pitching staff only allowed ﬁve base runners for the game on four walks and a hit batsman.
Before the game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, six OU hurlers have thrown a complete game without allowing a hit. The last time an individual Sooner threw a no-hitter occurred when Jim Husling bafﬂed Old Dominion in 1989.
Freshman Kevin Duke made his ﬁrst career start and set the tone for the rest of the day after lasting three innings and striking out three in the process to record the win. He was followed by junior John Brownell (2.0 innings, 2 strikeouts), junior Daniel McCutchen (1.0 innings, 2 strikeouts), sophomore Ryan Mottern (1.0 innings, 2 strikeouts),junior Will Savage (1.0 innings, strikeout) and junior P.J. Sandoval (1.0 innings, strikeout) who all managed to hold the Golden Lions hitless through nine innings.
The March 9 game was also the ﬁrst and only game this season that the OU pitching staff held a team scoreless.
PLENTY OF RUN SUPPORT
The OU offense has been potent of late, averaging 14.33 runs per game in the last six contests. OU is also averaging 14.83 hits per game in that span. On the season, the Sooners are averaging 9.94 runs and 12.23 hits per game.
Junior Freddy Rodriguez has proved to be a valuable asset to the Sooners’ offense and defense. The versatile inﬁelder, who has played at every position in the inﬁeld this season, is second on the team in batting average with a .375 clip. His 14 RBI ranks fourth on the team, tied with Eric Thornton. The Westminister, Calif., native had his nine-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday but he was able to collect 17 hits and 12 RBI in that span. OU is 4-4 when he starts at ﬁrst base and undefeated (4-0) when he starts at the other inﬁeld positions.
Half of the Sooners’ 22 stolen bases this year took place in the two-game set with Arkansas-Pine Bluff. OU set a season high in game two against Arkansas-Pine Bluff with six swipes all together. The Sooners ran the bases well in the ﬁrst game of the series with a total of ﬁve stolen bases, the previous season high. OU was only thrown out once in the series, going 11-for-12 (.916). Jackson Williams and Chuckie Cauﬁeld were a combined 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts against the Golden Lions. Cauﬁeld leads all Sooners with ﬁve swipes this season and has been thrown out only once. In addition, Williams, Joe Dunigan and Russell Raley each have three stolen bases and as a team, OU is 22-for-31 on the year.
The Sooners improved to 10-1 at home last week after recording a 4-1 mark during their ﬁve-game home stand. OU was scheduled to play six consecutive games at home before the game on Tuesday, March 15 was rained out against Dallas Baptist. In its 11 games played at L. Dale Mitchell Park, OU is hitting .356 as a team and has signiﬁcantly outscored the opposition, 138-59. All but one of the Sooners’ 12 home runs this season have been hit in their home park.
TOP 25 OPPOSITION
The Sooners face eight different schools throughout the season (combined 20 games) ranked in either the Baseball America or Sports Weekly/ESPN top 25 polls this week (three in the top 10). More than half of those contests occur once Big 12 competition begins as Texas (1/1), Texas A&M (8/11), Baylor (16/19), Nebraska (23/21), Texas Tech (24-ESPN) are all currently ranked in the top 25. TCU (24/25) and Wichita State (22-ESPN) are the only non-conference opponent left on OU’s schedule. The Sooners have already played two ranked opponents and lost to both Cal State Fullerton (2/2), and then-No. 12 Arizona State, 7-0 and 7-5 respectively.
KAISER ON A ROLL
Despite snapping a nine-game hitting streak over the weekend, freshman Kody Kaiser continues to hit the ball well in his ﬁrst season at OU. Kaiser has hit safely in all but two games (UCLA and Nevada) in 2005. He is second on the team with 27 hits and ranks ﬁfth in batting average (.355). The Edmond, Okla., has come within one hit of completing the cycle on two occassions this season and has collected seven multiple-hit games. In just his ﬁfth collegiate game (vs. Eastern Illinois), Kaiser led off the game with a triple and added a double and a home run in his next two at-bats before grounding out to second base in his last chance at the cycle. On Feb. 28 against Western Illinois, Kaiser started with a double, triple and a single but could not come up with a homer in his ﬁnal at bat. He has now served as the team’s leadoff hitter in four games (7-for-18), batted out of the three-hole (7-for-19) in four contests and hit in the sixth spot (3-for-4) in his remaining game.
RALEY’S STREAK COMES UP SHORT
Junior Russell Raley hit safely in the Sooners’ ﬁrst 13 games this season and after reaching base four times (2 walks, 2 errors) in the 14th game, the junior’s hitting streak was snapped. The Uvalde, Texas native came one game shy of tying his career-best streak set a season ago. Raley’s career high of 14 consecutive games with a hit was set last season in between April 13 and May 7.
Members of the Cauﬁeld family have enjoyed success at the University of Oklahoma as LaNeisha Cauﬁeld (1999-2002) was a member of the women’s basketball 2002 Final Four team. Now, Chuckie Cauﬁeld (LaNeisha’s brother), is quickly becoming a key member of the 2005 OU baseball team. Cauﬁeld has started 14 of the 16 games he has played in so far this season and done so by reaching base and making some solid defensive plays. He is batting .320 with ﬁve RBI and 17 runs scored. He has also collected two doubles and a triple so far this season. Cauﬁeld is second on the team in on-base percentage (.469) due in large part to the 10 times he has been hit by a pitch (leads team). Last season, the most any Sooner was beamed was 12 times (Russell Raley and Andrew McGuire).
TENT PARTIES AT L. DALE MITCHELL
The OU baseball team will host the third of four "Tent Parties" at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Saturday, April 9 for its game against Kansas at 2 p.m.
Members of the Home Run club will have a chance to hear what head coach Larry Cochell and select players have to say about the upcoming game and enjoy food and drinks before the first pitch.
The tent will open at 12:30 p.m. just outside the stadium near the southwest corner. Members will also have the opportunity to listen to the post-game press interview with Cochell and the player of the game held live on the radio with play-by-play announcer Chuck Kelly.