Oklahoma tops William and Mary
Rocha limits the Tribe to one hit and strikes out seven
NORMAN, Okla. -- No. 5 Oklahoma started its 2011 campaign in grand fashion with a 7-1 victory against William and Mary on Friday.
Senior captain Michael Rocha limited the Tribe to one hit while striking out seven in the win and junior captain Garrett Buechele provided the run support with a 2-for-4 outing at the plate, including a solo shot down the left-field line in the third inning.
Rocha (1-0) tossed the second one-hitter of his OU career and completed his eighth consecutive start with at least five innings. In 16 of his 25 career starting nods, Rocha has gone five or more innings.
"It really was a good first outing for him (Rocha)," said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway. "He just pounded the strike zone. I thought overall, a crisp played game, really on both sides."
The Sooners opening day win came in front of a crowd of 1,522 at L. Dale Mitchell Park, the largest attendance at an OU home opener since 1999 (1,680 vs. Emporia State).
"How about our fans rolling out, some 1,500 strong for opening day," added Golloway. "We couldn't be more proud of the fans for supporting our program right now. For an opener, I don't think we could beat it."
The Sooners have won 31 home openers in a row with their last loss coming in 1981. OU has been successful in those games with offense, outscoring the opposition, 47-12, in that span. It was also the Sooners' third consecutive win in a season opener after falling to No. 1 UCLA on the road in 2008.
On Friday, the offense connected on eight of its nine hits off Tribe starter Matt Davenport (0-1). The 6-8 All-American lasted five innings but was charged with six runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks. In addition to Buechele, freshman All-American Max White led OU with three hits out of the leadoff spot.
That was all the offense Rocha would need. His no-hit bid ended in the fourth inning on Ryan Brown's lead-off single, a bloop to right-center field. The right-hander faced the minimum amount of hitters in every frame except his last, the seventh.
"They were taking good hacks and had some pretty hard-hit balls," said Rocha on the Tribe's hitters. "I just wanted to get us off to a good start. Today was a good day."
William and Mary's Ryan Lindemuth scored the Tribe's only run (unearned) of the ball game in the top of the ninth off of freshman reliever Cayle Shambaugh. Freshman Kindle Ladd also made his debut for OU on Friday with a perfect inning of relief.