NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Sooners (27-15 overall, 7-8 Big 12 play) will look to extend their winning streak at home this weekend with a three-game series against Kansas (20-25, 6-12).
The series begins on Friday at 7 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park. The Sooners and Jayhawks will continue action on Saturday at 3 p.m. and conclude the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
OU has won seven of the last nine games with Kansas, including the last three series meetings.
This weekend’s games against Kansas will be broadcast live on the Sooners’ flagship station, KOKC 1520 AM, with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play. The game can also be heard live via the internet on Yahoo. Pre-game coverage for all games, now begins 25 minutes prior to the first pitch.
Fans can E-mail the radio booth by clicking the following link - E-mail your questions to the radio booth and the OU broadcast crew will answer your questions during the Sooners' games.
Live stats for all games this season can be viewed on Soonersports.com. In addition, the O-Zone will provide a webcast of all three games.
TICKETS AND PROMOTIONS FOR KANSAS SERIES
Seats to this week’s game are available for $10 (reserved), $7 (general admission), $5 (youth and senior citizen) and $3 for groups of ten or more at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and at SoonerSports.com. The first 250 fans in attendance at Friday’s game will receive a free pair of Oklahoma Crocs. On Saturday, the first 1,000 fans will receive a free baseball trading card set. On Sunday, kids are invited to run the bases following the conclusion of the game.
UPDATING THE SOONERS
Bad weather wreaked havoc on the Sooners’schedule for the third straight week as the midweek contest at Texas Arlington on April 24 was rained out. The game has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader in Norman on May 1 (3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.)
Oklahoma began last week with a 10-6 loss at No. 27 TCU. The defeat was the Sooners’ first in a midweek game and third straight overall. The losing streak hit four games as OU dropped the series opener at Kansas State on April 20 in a 10-6 decision. For the fourth time in the last five years, the Sooners rebounded from a series-opening loss to KSU with wins in games two and three. The Sooners outscored the Wildcats 20-9 in game two and the offense continued to roll in game three with a 12-4 victory.
BASEBALL VIDEO - KSU SERIES REVIEW
CLICK HERE to watch video as the Sooners' review the series win in Manhattan, Kan. Coach Golloway talks about Nich Conaway's first career start and Joe Dunigan discusses the Sooners' offensive performance.
The Jayhawks, picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ poll, are currently in tenth place in the standings. Kansas is 3-7 in its last 10 games, recording wins in each of the three Big 12 series against Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.
Sophomore left-hander Andy Marks will start Friday on the mound for Kansas. Marks has pitched effectively in his last three Big 12 outings, with six-plus innings against Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech, but is 0-2 in that span despite 20 strikeouts. Marks, who’s 72 strikeouts is tied for second in the Big 12 behind OU’s Stephen Porlier, is 3-5 this season (0-3 in Big 12) with an overall ERA of 6.28 (7.36 in Big 12).
Kansas is led offensively by John Allman. The junior left fielder owns a team-best .333 batting average and his 32 RBIs rank second on the club behind Brock Simpson’s 33. Allman was 6-for-16 (.375) against OU last year with one homer and two RBIs.
OU leads the all-time series with Kansas 115-60-1. The Sooners took two out of three from Kansas last year in Lawrence during the regular season, before falling 7-1 in the first game of the Big 12 Championship. OU has won seven of the last 10 games with Kansas and each of the last three series meetings. Since Big 12 play began in 1997, the Sooners own a 22-9 advantage with the only series loss coming in 2003 at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
PLAYER TO WATCH: AARON IVEY
The senior outfielder has hit safely in seven of the last eight games. In that span, Ivey is hitting .433 (13-for-30) with three RBIs and six walks. Additionally, Ivey has swiped 10 stolen bases, including six in the KSU series, and is currently tied for the team lead with 15.
SOONERS IN THE BIG 12
OU’s 4.09 team ERA ranks fifth in the conference. The Sooners rank fourth in overall batting average with a .298 team clip and its .967 fielding percentage ranks sixth in the conference. Below is a look at the current standings:
OU remains home to host Texas Arlington in a doubleheader on May 1 at 3 p.m. Game two is slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. Next weekend, the Sooners and Cowboys will tangle in the annual Bedlam Series. The three-game set begins on Friday (7:30 p.m.) at Drillers’ Stadium in Tulsa and games two (Saturday at 7:35 p.m.) and three (Sunday at 4 p.m.) will be held at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
FAN APPRECIATION DAY
After the OU baseball team has two games rained out in the last three weeks, it announced it will host Texas Arlington in a doubleheader on Tuesday, May 1 p.m. The first game is scheduled for 3 p.m. while game two is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at L. Dale Mitchell Park. To celebrate “Fan Appreciation Day”, admission to both games will be free and $.50 popcorn and cokes will be available while supplies last.
OKLAHOMA/BIG 12 RPI’s
For the first time ever, the NCAA released its RPI rankings this week. OU is No. 19 while Texas A&M (4) and Texas (6) are the only Big 12 schools ahead of the Sooners. Although not official, Boydsworld.com provides a weekly pseudo RPI system. OU is ranked No. 19 in the latest ranking released on Thursday, April 23. The Big 12 is rated the No. 2 power conference in the nation behind the SEC. No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 7 Texas are the only Big 12 teams slotted ahead of OU.
10 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
The number 10 has proven to be an important statistic in determining the Sooners’ record this season. When OU records 10 or more hits on offense, it is 17-3 with losses to Western Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State. Additionally, the Sooners are 8-0 when they score 10 or more runs.On defense, OU is 5-8 when it allows 10 or more hits and in comparison, 21-3 when it holds the opposition under 10 base knocks. The Sooners have only allowed five opponents to score 10 or more runs this season. OU lost each of those contests to South Carolina, Western Kentucky, Nebraska, TCU and Kansas State.
SOONERS’ TOP 25 RANKINGS
The Oklahoma Sooners were not ranked in the top 25 for the second time in as many weeks. The USA Today/ESPN poll, as voted on by Division I coaches, has the Sooners receiving votes this week. Despite being left out of the top 25 rankings, the Sooners are ranked No. 27 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association this week, who tabulates the top 30 teams in the nation each week. Refer to page six for a week-by-week look at the Sooners’ rankings.
The Sooners’ offense entered this weekend’s games in an offensive slump that saw them score 49 runs in the previous 12 games (4.08 per game). Against KSU, the OU offense tallied 38 runs (12.7 per game) off 43 hits (seven home runs) in three games.
DAVIS’ BIG DAY
After missing his first start of the season in Friday’s series opener at Kansas State, Aljay Davis came back in game two to drive in six runs off four hits. Davis’ six RBIs marks the first time a Sooner drove in six or more runs since Chris Elbright connected for nine RBIs on March 28, 1987 against Oklahoma City.
The Sooners’ hurler, who began the season as the club’s No. 1 starter, was recently sidelined with a strained muscle in his throwing shoulder. Unable to pitch, Mottern entered the Nebraska series with one at-bat in 2007. In his first start as the Sooners’ designated hitter, he was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate against on April 14 in the series opener against Nebraska with two RBIs.
Mottern continued the recent tear with a 5-for-12 weekend against Kansas State that featured six RBIs. In six games this season, Mottern is hitting .524 (11-for-21) with 10 RBIs.
PORLIER MAKING HIS MARK
Sophomore Stephen Porlier continues to make his mark in his first season in Norman. Stephen Porlier tossed the first complete game of his career on April 14 against Nebraska. The four-hit shutout was the first for a Sooner since Daniel McCutchen shut down UC Riverside in 10 innings on March 3, 2006. Porlier struck out six in the outing and leads the Sooners with 68 this season.
Porlier has struck out 36 batters over the last 35 innings and 10-plus in two of the last five outings. Additionally, Porlier has four or more punch outs in each of his 11 appearances this season, including a season-high 12 batters against Texas A&M on March 23 and 11 versus Baylor on April 5. Porlier, who leads the Big 12 with 75 strikeouts, has lasted five or more innings in each of his 10 outings (nine starts).
IVEY A CANDIDATE FOR LOWE's SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Senior outfielder Aaron Ivey was one of 30 NCAA Division I college baseball players as a candidate for the 2007 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Ivey, a 2006 Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-American, has made 90 starts in his OU career and has a cumulative GPA of 4.00 in his major of energy management. This is the first year for the honor to be awarded in the sport. Lowe’s recently announced the addition of baseball and three other NCAA sports to the award
program that originally launched in 2001-02 with basketball. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award is designed to honor the attributes of college senior student athletes who stay in school and pursue the many rewards that a senior season can bring.
OU is outscoring its opponents 35-14 in the first inning of games played this season. When OU scores in the first frame, it is 8-2 (6-4 when opponent scores in the first) and when the Sooners tack on the game’ s initial run, they are 16-3 (11-12 when opponent scores first).
OU is 9-5 this season against ranked teams, suffering its only losses to then-No. 4 South Carolina (13-2), then-No. 8 Texas A&M (7-3 on March 23) then-No. 7 Texas (games one and two) and No. 27 TCU. The Sooners have recorded wins over then-No. 11 Wichita State, 5-4, then-No. 20 UC Riverside (three games), then-No. 22 San Diego, 6-4, Texas A&M (twice), Texas (game three) and then-No. 28 TCU.
Oklahoma’s 71 stolen bases after 42 games ranks second in the Big 12 behind Texas A&M (106). Aljay Davis and Aaron Ivey lead all Sooners with 15 swipes and not far behind are Aaron Reza with 13 stolen bags and Joe Dunigan with 11. The last time an OU team had three or more Sooners steal 10 or more bases in a season was 2003. That OU squad swiped 91 bases (tied for 14th most in school history) and was led by Reggie Willits (37), Denver Kitch (14), Eddie Cornejo (10) and Jay Yaconetti (10).
Joe Dunigan continues to get the job done offensively in his third season in Norman. Dunigan is tied for first on the team with 11 multiple-RBI games (Aaron Baker) and second with 16 multiple-hit games behind Aaron Reza (17). Dunigan had his career-high nine-game hitting streak snapped against Texas. In that span, Dunigan had 18 RBIs on 17 hits. Dunigan is currently second on the team with a .340 batting average and leads all Sooners with a .590 SLG%, 8 HR, 40 RBIs and a .434 on-base percentage. In his first two years in Norman, Dunigan hit a combined .273 and drove in 36 runs off five homers.
Freshman Aaron Baker’s hitting streak of 22 games came to an end on Sunday, March 18 against Michigan State, despite being issued two walks. Baker’s streak ranks third all-time at Oklahoma behind Derek Wathan’s 25-game mark (1997-1998) and Marty Neff’s 27-game streak (1991). The first baseman is fourth among all Sooners with a .325 batting average and ranks second with 38 RBIs. The team-leading 22-game streak also leads the Big 12 for the longest streak this season. On March 13, Baker tied the OU freshman record for consecutive games hit safely with 19.
The streak is not the only records Baker is setting in his first season in Norman. In game two of the Western Illinois series on Feb. 24, he was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle as he tied an Oklahoma record with five hits. Baker became the 22nd player in OU history to accomplish the feat and the first since Greg Dobbs had five base knocks in 2001 (UTA).
Since Aaron Reza’s return to the lineup, the Sooners are 25-11 and the shortstop is hitting a team-leading .341 with 35 RBIs (third most on the team). Reza drove in 33 RBIs in his first season in Norman. For games played from Feb. 27 through March 4 this season, Reza was tabbed the Big 12 Player of the Week as he helped OU register four wins against ranked opponents (No. 11 Wichita State and No. 20 UC Riverside), Reza hit .588 (10-for-17) with nine RBIs. In that span, Reza was a perfect 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts and connected for his second career home run, while tying his career high for hits (3) in two games and setting a career high with four RBIs on March 2 against the Highlanders.
RICHARDS NAMED TO STOPPER OF THE YEAR LIST
Garrett Richards was among forty players named to the midseason watch list for the third annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. The award will be given to the top relief pitcher in Division I college baseball. Richards is tied for second in the Big 12 with nine saves, a mark that already ranks in a tie for fourth place at OU for a single season. His nine conversions also is tied for fifth best in a career for a Sooner. In his 19 appearances, Richards (1-0) has blown one save (Feb. 25 against WIU) and has struck out 20 batters over 20 2/3 innings pitched. In the series finale against Texas A&M, he tossed a career-high 4 2/3 to record his first career victory.
Heath Taylor, a transfer from Vernon Junior College, is 4-1 in his six starts since moving from the bullpen. After earning his fifth consecutive win in his second start of the season against Texas A&M, Taylor lost his first game as a Sooner against Texas on March 31. Despite striking out six and lasting seven innings, Taylor took the loss to drop to 5-1 on the year.
In is first start against Michigan State, Taylor recorded 11 strikeouts, tied for the second highest total by a Sooner this season, and limited the Spartans to one earned run off three hits and one walk. Prior to the start, Taylor was impressive out of the Sooners’ bullpen. As a reliever, Taylor was 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA. In his last five relief outings, the lefty recorded 17 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings pitched.
CONAWAY IN CONTROL
Nich Conaway made the first start of his career on Sunday, April 22 and lasted a career-high six innings and a season-high seven strikeouts. Conaway ranks second on the team with 60 strikeouts, a mark he has established in 41 1/3 innings of work this season. Conaway struck out five batters in nine appearances last season in five innings of work.
For the second straight year Joseph Hughes has shown his ability on the mound and in the field. After pitching just 12 games (16 2/3 IP) last season, Hughes has easily topped that mark in the Sooners’ first 42 games in 2007. The left-hander has 12 appearances (10 starts) and has logged 55 innings pitched (third on the team). Hughes is 5-3 and is hitting .309 with 15 RBIs.
COME FROM BEHIND WINS
After making a habit of coming from behind last season with 20 comeback victories, the Sooners have continued the trend in 2007. OU has rallied 14 times to record a victory this season. Since taking over as head coach at OU, Sunny Golloway has rallied his teams to win 34 games, accounting for 47 percent of his victories in 2006 and 2007.
EXTRA BASE HITS
OU has recorded an extra base hit in all but three games this season, the 2-1 win over UC Riverside (GM3) and the two losses to Baylor (GM1 and 3). Additionally, the Sooners have two or more extra base hits in 29 games this season, including a season-best eight against Western Illinois on Feb. 24 (5 doubles, triple and two homers) and Texas-Pan American on March 14 (3 doubles, 3 triples and two HR).
SOONERS VISIT WITH SPECIAL SPECTATORS
As Sooner fans across the country tuned in to watch the No. 23 Oklahoma baseball team battle Nebraska on Fox Sports Southwest on April 14, three fans in particular enjoyed the victory from beginning to end with the team in Norman. Alec Cochran, Ruben Contrares and Tyler Row enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of a typical gameday on top of the Sooners' victory thanks to the efforts of an organization called Special Spectators. Click here to read the rest of the story as well as see photos and videos from the day.
SOONERS ON TELEVISION
Baseball fans can catch action of three OU baseball games this season on live television, including a national broadcast by College Sports Television on April 5 when the Sooners visit Baylor. The complete broadcast schedule includes:
Thursday, April 5 at Baylor (CSTV)
Saturday, April 14 vs. Nebraska (FSN)
Sunday, May 6 vs. Oklahoma State (SSN)
BASEBALL ON THE O-ZONE
With the exception of the Feb. 28 game against Wichita State and the March 3 game UC Riverside, every game of the home portion of the 2007 schedule can be seen live via webcasts carried by the O-Zone, Soonersports.com’s premium site. For more information on the O-Zone, please visit the O-Zone central page.
BIG 12 COMMISSIONER’S HONOR ROLL
Fifteen members of the OU baseball team were named to the 2006 Fall Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Aaron Ivey was the lone Sooner to record a perfect 4. 0 GPA. Also making the list were Elliott Blair, Brad Burns, Andrew Doyle, Jarod Freeman, Zach Hedges, Bryant Hernandez, Joseph Hughes, Brandon Moss, Ryan Mottern, Stephen Porlier, Drew Roberts, Jimmy Rollins, Jackson Williams and Cory Williamson. Student-athletes must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for the semester to qualify for the list.
In 2006, the Sooners’ roster featured 12 players that were drafted at one point in their careers. That mark was second in the Big 12 to Oklahoma State’s 14. This season, OU again ranks second in the conference with 10 draftees and those players are listed below as well as where that mark ranks in the Big 12:
Player Year - Round Team
Aaron Baker 2006 - 37th Minnesota Twins
Vincent Biancamano 2004 - 35th Kansas City Royals
Brad Burns 2004 - 37th New York Mets
Aljay Davis 2005 - 29th Chicago White Sox
Andrew Doyle 2006 - 39th Washington Nationals
Joe Dunigan 2004 - 41st Montreal Expos
Chris Henry 2004 - 41st Colorado Rockies
Antwonie Hubbard 2006 - 12th Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Ryan Mottern 2006 - 49th Cleveland Indians
Devin Shepherd 2006 - 5th Minnesota Twins
BIG 12 DRAFTEES
Texas - 11
Texas A&M - 10
OSU - 8
Nebraska - 7
Baylor - 4
Missouri - 4
Texas Tech - 3
Kansas State - 2
Kansas - 1
View the complete 2007 Oklahoma Baseball Media Guide by clicking here. This is the official source of information on the Sooners produced by the OU Athletics Media Relations Department. The cost for the 2007 Baseball Guide is $15 and it is available at the OU Bookstore (405) 325-3511 (ask for general book sales), at all home games or by calling Sooner Sports Properties (405) 325-6465.
FIVE CAPTAINS TO LEAD OU IN 2007
Five Sooners were selected by their teammates to captain the club in 2007. Seniors Aaron Ivey and Jimmy Rollins and juniors Ryan Mottern, Aaron Reza and Jackson Williams are among the 13 letterwinners returning for OU this season.
OU LOOKS TO BUILD ON 2006 REGIONAL
After only one full season as Oklahoma's baseball coach, Sunny Golloway already has the Sooners measuring their success by the number of times they get to pile up on the middle of the field for a celebration. In his first season, Golloway led the Sooners to their first super regional appearance since they went to the College World Series as the defending champions in 1995. The next step is getting back to that level. Click here to read the full article written by the Associated Press.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Oklahoma Sooners led the nation in fielding percentage (.983) in 2006 and as a result, the team won a regional championship and was one win away from the program’s 10th College World Series appearance. The Sooners lost four starters from the playing field but return five starters in 2007.
Last year’s percentage is second in school history behind the .986 mark established by the 1951 team. The Sooners’ won the program’s first national title that same year.
MOTTERN NAMED TO WALLACE WATCH LIST
Junior hurler Ryan Mottern (RHP) was named to the watch list for the 2007 Brooks Wallace Award, presented an