Sooners snap three-game losing streak with win over No. 11 Aggies
March 18, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- Senior captain Michael Rocha struck out a career-high 13 batters on Friday as the No. 2 Sooners posted 1-0 shutout over No. 11 Texas A&M in the Big 12 opener.
"He was special, their guy was special, but Michael was a little bit better," said Golloway on his ace's performance.
Garrett Buechele drove in the Sooners' run in the seventh inning on a RBI single up the middle to snap a three-game losing streak for Oklahoma (17-3, 1-0 Big 12). The two-out base hit came after Texas A&M ace John Stilson walked Max White and gave up a single to Evan Mistich.
"I think that when you stumble, you have to work hard and that's how you get your confidence back," said Golloway on the team's hard work during the losing streak. "The 1-0 victory is really good for us, hopefully we'll come out tomorrow, we'll play looser."
Stilson (1-1) tossed seven innings and had nine strikeouts, but it wasn't enough for Texas A&M, which fell to 13-5 and 0-1 in conference play.
Rocha lasted 8 2/3 innings and was masterful throughout the game, registering 25 first pitch strikes on the 30 batters he faced and allowing just three hits and zero walks. The last time a Sooner had 13 strikeouts in a game was on April 7, 2006, when Daniel McCutchen, now with the Pittsburgh Pirates, also sat down 13 Aggies in College Station. Rocha improved to 5-0 and has lasted seven innings in each of his starting nods this season.
Rocha gave up a base knock in the first inning, but held the Aggies hitless in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Texas A&M threatened in the eighth inning with a leadoff single by Kevin Gonzales, but Rocha retired the next three batters. In the ninth, Rocha struck out two batters before Tyler Naquin had a double to left to end the right-hander's outing.
"Pretty much everything was working today ... fastball command, mixing my slider in there," said Rocha. "They were being pretty aggressive, so I used that to my advantage. I am glad we came away with the win."
Senior Ryan Duke earned his first save of the season with a one-pitch ground out to Garrett Buechele and moved into sole possession of first place on OU's career saves list with 29.
"We don't put too much emphasis if its a save opportunity, or if its a win opportunity," said Golloway on his third-year close. "We just go with the best man at that time. Late in a game, if the score is tied or we have the lead, its his job."
The strong pitching performance was accompanied by eight base hits by the Sooners, five more than the Aggies managed in the series opener. OU was led by Tyler Ogle, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate.
OU and Texas A&M return action at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Sooner Sports Network is providing complete coverage of the weekend. All three games are broadcast live on KREF 1400 AM and televised live on Cox Ch. 3 in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.