March 22, 2009

Courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics

- The No. 13 Sooners hit a school record 11 home runs and tied the Big 12 mark en route to a 29-4 victory at Kansas State on Sunday.

The win clinched the series for the Sooners (20-5, 2-1) and marked the fifth straight year that OU has fallen behind 1-0 in a three-game set with the Wildcats (18-5, 1-2) and rallied back for the series victory.

OU hit five home runs and brought 17 hitters to the plate in the first inning to score 13 runs and later batted around in the fifth and hit four more dingers, good for 11 runs.  The previous school record was eight and J.T. Wise had two of the Sooners 11 homers while tying a school record with five hits.  Wise was responsible for 11 runs as he drove in seven and scored four more.

Jamie Johnson (4-for-6, four runs, three RBI) and Casey Johnson (3-for-3, two runs, six RBIs) also connected for two round trippers apiece while Aaron Baker, Elliott Blair, Bryan Groth, Bryant Hernandez and Cameron Seitzer had the remainder of the total.

The offensive outburst tied the fourth most runs scored in school history and was the most by a Sooner team since 1986 (29 vs. Northeastern on March 29).

“I am really proud of the way we came out,” said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway.  “We wanted to take the fight to them after evening the series yesterday.  This is a big win, especially to win that first Big 12 series of the year and do so on the road against a talented KSU team. They are very good team and the scoreboard does not indicate what type of team Kansas State has this year.”

Overshadowed in the offensive performance was Michael Rocha, who improved to 3-1 with five innings pitched.  After allowing four runs in the first two innings, Rocha held the Wildcats hitless during his final three innings of work and retired the side in order during the fourth and fifth.

“He did a good job,” said Golloway on Rocha’s outing.  “He gave up two runs in the first and two in the second, but then really settled in.  The run support really helped him obviously, but with the wind blowing out and KSU’s offense, we knew they were capable of coming back and he pitched well and held them at bay.”

The Sooners’ offense made quick work of KSU starter Kayvon Bahramzadeh (2-1) as Jamie Johnson began the game with his fourth leadoff homer of the season.  Johnson’s team-leading eighth homer was followed by back-to-back walks and a run-scoring bunt single by Garrett Buechele.  After Seitzer doubled in Hernandez, Wise blasted his sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot, over the fence in left field.  A double by Chris Ellison followed and ended Bahramzadeh’s day with seven runs off six hits in a 1/3 of an inning.

Reliever Todd Vogel didn’t have much luck in the first inning either.   Vogel gave up the third long ball of the inning, a two run-homer by  Blair.  Another walk paved the way for the next homer, a two-run shot by Hernandez, his fifth of the year.   Vogel walked Baker and surrendered a double to Buechele before Seitzer drove a three-run blast over the right-field fence.  A single by Wise was followed by the third out of the inning as the Sooners finished the frame one batter short of batting around twice.

Kansas State’s offense, which entered Sunday’s game with the best batting average in the Big 12 (.350), posted two runs in the first inning and two more in the second to cut the lead to 13-4.  That was all the Wildcats could muster in the final after scoring 11 runs in yesterday’s 12-11 Sooner victory.

OU completed its longest road trip of the season with a 5-2 mark with three wins over ranked teams (No. 14 TCU and No. 26 KSU).

“To go on the road and win two out of three, and add in what we did at TCU on Tuesday, it was a good week for us,” added Golloway.

The Sooners return home for a four-game home stand that begins on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Central Arkansas.  Following the midweek contest, OU will welcome Nebraska to L. Dale Mitchell Park for the first home series of the Big 12 slate.