March 11, 2010
The No. 15 Sooners (13-1) have won eight straight games and face perhaps their toughest test of 2010 this weekend in the Whataburger Collegiate Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. OU opens the tournament against Mississippi State (9-3) on Friday before battling Texas A&M Corpus Christi (7-4) on Saturday. Sunday's game features OU's first ranked opponent in No. 10 UCLA (10-0).
Oklahoma is off to its best start since 1985 (23-1) and is ranked as high as No. 15 this week by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll.
Mississippi State returns 17 letterwinners from the 2009 team that was 25-29 overall (9-20, 6th in SEC) ... The Bulldogs have won five in a row after claiming a 9-3 decision over Western Kentucky Wednesday ... Starter: LHP Nick Routt (0-0, 3.86)
Texas A&M Corpus Christi and OU will be meeting for the first time ... It returns 15 letterwinners and was 18-38 in 2009 and ninth in the Southland Conference (9-24) ... The Islanders won 14-5 over UT Brownsville at home Tuesday night ... Starter: TBA
UCLA is ranked as high as No. 10 (Collegiate Baseball) and most recently knocked off UC Riverside, 3-2, on Tuesday at home... The Bruins return 17 letterwinners from a 27-29 record in 2009 (15-12, 3rd in Pac 10) ... Starter: LHP Rob Rasmussen (0-0, 3.38)
The OU broadcast with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play can be heard all weekend long on the Sooners Sports Network (KREF 1400 AM) and free online at SoonerSports.com. Sunday's game will be joined in progress at 11:30 a.m. on KREF 1400 AM.
Live stats are available on SoonerSports.com via the baseball schedule page.
Mississippi State: Tied 1-1
Last meeting: May 23, 1992 in NCAAs; OU won 10-6
In Starkville: Tied 1-1
Texas A&M Corpus Christi: First Meeting
UCLA: OU leads 7-5
Last meeting: March 8, 2009 in Norman; OU won 6-4
Neutral: UCLA leads 4-3
No. 1 Zach Neal (RHP) 1-0, 6.60, 15.0 IP, 5 BB, 16 SO
No. 2 Bobby Shore (RHP) 2-0, 2.55, 17.2 IP, 5 BB, 20 SO
No. 3 Ryan Gibson (LHP) 2-0, 3.07, 15.0 IP, 4 BB, 15 SO
PLAYER TO WATCH - JEREMY ERBEN
The senior captain was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and CollegeBaseballInsider.com's National Pitcher of the Week on March 9. Erben (5-0) appeared in four games for the Sooners last week and did not allow a run. In six innings of work, Erben struck out eight batters and held the opposition scoreless with four hits and a walk allowed. He leads the Big 12 with five wins.
2010 Season Stats: 5-0, 0.57 ERA, 7 appearances
OU returns to Norman for a five-game home stand against Massachusetts and Baylor. The Sooners welcome the Minutemen on March 16 and 17 for a pair of 7 p.m. games. On March 19-21, OU opens Big 12 play with the Bears at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sooners recorded a pair of midweek victories starting with an 8-4 win at Dallas Baptist on Tuesday. OU returned home the next day to host Houston Baptist and post a 9-1 victory.
- OU ranks third in the Big 12 in batting (.328) and ERA (3.34).
- The Sooners started a stretch on Tuesday that features 10 games in 13 days.
- Garrett Buechele ranks in the top five of seven offensive categories in the Big 12 and has 10 multiple hit games.
- Buechele (5) and Cameron Seitzer (4) rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in homers in the Big 12. Both have surpassed their 2009 totals by one.
- Danny Black has hit safely in 11 of his 13 games and owns a team-best eight-game hitting streak.
- Ryan Duke is a perfect 6-for-6 in save situations this year and leads the Big 12 in that category. Duke led the Big 12 in 2009 after registering 16 saves in 18 opportunities.
- Jeremy Erben leads the Big 12 with five wins and seven appearances and ranks third with a 0.57 ERA. Erben entered 2010 with a career 1-4 record.
- Buechele (3B) and Caleb Bushyhead (SS) are the only Sooners to start every game.
- Bushyhead registered one hit in 22 games last season and already has 18 hits after 14 games in 2010. Bushyhead ranks second on OU with six multiple-hit games.
BEST START SINCE 1985
After 14 games, OU is off to its best start under head coach Sunny Golloway. The Sooners have started a season with a 13-1 record on two other occasions in program history and the 1985 club was the last to accomplish the feat (23-1). In 1981, the Sooners started the year 22-1.
SOONERS AND BRUINS HAVE RECENT HISTORY
- OU and UCLA has made eight of their all-time meetings in the last six years.
- OU leads 7-5 overall and is 5-3 since 2004. The two exchanged home and home series in the past two years as the Sooners swept the Bruins in three games in Norman in 2009. In 2008, the two opened the season against each in Los Angeles and split two games after one game was cancelled due to rain.
- Six of the all-time meetings have been decided by two runs or less, including the last five where OU holds a 4-1 advantage (3-0 in one-run contests).
- The first six meetings in the series were played in the NCAA Regional (twice in Starkville in 1992 and twice in 2000 and 2004 in Oklahoma City).
OU has scored 40 of its 11 runs or 36 percent in the sixth inning and later. In addition, the Sooners have outscored the opposition, 27-4, in the eighth and ninth innings combined, which includes five home runs.
OU has scored first in five of the last six games and in nine overall. OU has a 8-1 record in those contests. The opposition has tallied the game's first run on five occasions, but OU is 5-0 in those games.
The Sooners have recorded one-run victories in four of the last seven games. OU is 4-1 in those situations this year and the Sooners are 54-20-1 (.727) under head coach Sunny Golloway. The Sooners' skipper entered 2010 with the best winning percentage among Big 12 coaches over the last five years.
BULLPEN IN LAST SEVEN GAMES
The Sooner bullpen combined to throw 22.2 innings in the last seven games. In that span, the relievers have allowed two runs off 15 hits and seven walks, while striking out 33 hitters. Jeremy Erben recorded three wins in that span while Ryan Duke posted three saves.
THE BIG INNING
OU has hit through the batting order already three times this season, twice in game two of the SDSU series and once against Richmond. OU accomplished the feat on 23 occasions last year. That 2009 team also scored five or more runs in 22 different frames. In 2010, OU has scored five or more runs in four different frames, twice in game two of the SDSU series and once versus Valparaiso and Western Illinois.
TIME FOR A RALLY
The Sooners have come from behind to win five of the 14 games this season. Of Sunny Golloway's 183 wins at OU, 91 (.497) have been in come-from-behind fashion, including 22 last year.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Prior to the season, OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway discussed the fact that the 2010 team was the deepest he has tutored in 13 years as a DI head coach. During the opening weekend, Golloway used all 33 players that traveled to San Diego, including 15 newcomers. OU used 30 in week two at the Jacksonville Invitational. Only two players on the 2010 35-man roster have not seen action (Jordan John and Michael Whitney).
DUKE MOVING UP SAVES LIST
Ryan Duke recorded two saves on the opening weekend to move into sole possession of second place on OU's all-time saves list (below). Duke led the Big 12 in saves with 16 last year (ranked sixth in the nation), the second most in a single season by a Sooner (Jeff Bajenaru - 20, 2000).
He currently leads the Big 12 lead in 2010 with six saves.
1. 28 - Jeff Bajenaru, 1999-00
2. 22 - Ryan Duke, 2008-present
The Sooners have recorded 10 or more hits in 10 of the first 14 games of the season. OU is averaging 11.14 hits per game despite losing five regular starters from last season's club. The Sooners are also averaging 7.93 runs per game with four games with 10 or more scores, including the 17 posted in game two of the San Diego State series, the most since exploding for 29 runs on March 22, 2009 at Kansas State. OU leads the Big 12 with 20 homers and 156 hits and ranks second in runs (111) and third in batting average (.328).
Eight current Sooners have been drafted in their careers (third most in Big 12 this season), including four newcomers on the 2010 squad that were selected in 2009. (Danny Black, Ryan Gibson, Chad Kettler and Bobby Shore). Last season, OU led all Big 12 programs with nine players selected off the 2009 roster. Below is a look at the eight Sooners and when and where they were drafted:
Danny Black 2009 - New York Yankees - 42nd Rd.
Jason Chowning 2007 - New York Yankees - 43rd Rd.
Jeremy Erben 2006 - Cincinnati Reds - 41st Rd.
Ryan Gibson 2009 - Florida Marlins - 48th Rd.
Kaleb Herren 2008 - Milwaukee Brewers - 44th Rd.
Chad Kettler 2009 - Los Angeles Dodgers - 24th Rd.
J.R. Robinson 2008 - Toronto Blue Jays - 31st Rd.
Bobby Shore 2009 - Baltimore Orioles - 40th Rd.
Michael Whitney 2005 - Baltimore Orioles - 18th Rd.
BASEBALL ON KREF 1400 AM IN 2010 | RADIO SCHEDULE (PDF)
The 2010 season marks the first with KREF 1400 AM serving as the flagship station of Sooner baseball and the new partnership provides expanded coverage for OU fans to listen to 50-plus regular season games over the air. Additionally, 22 of the Big 12 games are set to be carried on the Sooners Sports' Network, enabling fans to listen to OU baseball on various stations across the state starting on April 1, nearly double the amount from previous seasons.
The entire 56-game regular season schedule will be broadcast live for free on SoonerSports.com.
SOONER SPORTS NETWORK TO TELEVISE 20 OU GAMES | TV SCHEDULE (PDF)
The University of Oklahoma will locally televise 20 home baseball games for the 2010 season. The broadcasts will air via the Sooner Sports Network on Cox Channel 7 in Oklahoma City and Cox Channel 3 in Tulsa. The games will be simulcast with the OU radio broadcast on the Sooner Sports Network with Chuck Kelly calling the play-by-play and DeWayne Vaughn providing the color analysis. The first game can be seen on Wednesday, March 10 against Houston Baptist at 3 p.m.
OU FOURTH IN BIG 12 COACHES' POLL | Big 12 Coaches' Poll | Feb. 16 Media Teleconference
The No. 22 Oklahoma baseball team was picked fourth in the 2010 Big 12 Coaches' preseason poll released on Feb. 16. The Sooners' projected finish is the highest under head coach Sunny Golloway and the best since a third-place vote in 2003.