June 13, 2010

By Shane Mettlen
Special to NCAA.com

Charlottesville, Va. - There were no more than a few dozen Oklahoma supporters among the 4,800 fans at Virginia's Davenport Field on Sunday. But after OU's third home run of the day their chants could be heard loud and clear.


It was quite appropriate in response to Oklahoma's offensive explosion on the way to a 10-7 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NCAA Division I baseball Super Regional. The Sooners' win forced a decisive third game Monday at 7 p.m.

Righthander Bobby Shore will get the start for OU with freshman righty Branden Kline taking the mound for Virginia, which will be the home team.

Sophomore right fielder Cody Reine homered twice and Max White added another long ball as the Sooners outslugged Virginia in a game that was the opposite of Saturday's pitchers' duel, forcing both teams deep into the bullpen.

"It is always a great feeling to be able to get into a team's bullpen early," Reine, who drove in five runs, said.

Virginia starter Robert Morey struggled to find the strike zone, walking three and hitting one batter in two-plus innings of work. On one occasion when he did get it over the plate Reine blasted it into the right-field bleachers to drive in three runs, part of a four-run first for the Sooners.

"He is a great pitcher," Reine said of Morey." We knew that as long as he was on the mound we'd have a tough challenge in front of us and getting him out quickly helped us in the long run."

Despite the struggles of Morey, who was replaced by Cody Winiarski in the third, Virginia's bats were able to keep the Cavaliers in it. Phil Gosselin and Dan Grovatt continued their Super Regional success at the plate - Gosselin had three hits and a homer and Grovatt had two hits and two RBI -- helping the Cavs score twice each in the first and third innings, making it a 6-4 Oklahoma lead after three.

But the Sooners weren't done scoring runs. Reine homered again in the sixth to bring in two runs and White added another two-run blast in the sixth. In between, Gosselin delivered a three-run shot in the top of the sixth that kept the Cavaliers somewhat close, but Oklahoma went into the seventh holding on to a 10-7 advantage.

"It was a tough loss," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "Oklahoma deserved to win. They swung the bats aggressively and took advantage of their opportunities. We absolutely competed and battled tooth-and-nail all the way to the end, but that is why it's a three-game series. We won the first and Oklahoma won the second and we have a chance tomorrow night to advance."

Both teams will start quality arms in what will be the most important game of their seasons.

Shore, the MVP of the Norman Regional, has a 4.23 ERA and a 9-4 record after working as the Sooners' No. 2 starter most of the season.

Kline, a sixth-round pick of the Boston Red Sox last year, has pitched well in important games. He has a 3.14 ERA and a 5-0 record after impressive outings against Coastal Carolina, North Carolina, Miami and Ole Miss in the second half of the season.

"I feel really good about going into tomorrow," O'Connor said. "How can you not? Every time we've needed to get a win this team has responded like champions. They won't hang their heads. They'll be ready to play. If we go down tomorrow, it won't be for the players having a lack of confidence or belief in themselves."

Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway also expects another dogfight, but this time it will end with one team dog piling and celebrating a trip to Omaha.

"We have talked and given our team the message that baseball will find different players on every given day and you need to be able to respond. Our guys have done that in grand fashion the last two months of the season. We are looking forward to competing tomorrow. It has been a tremendous series so far and I am sure it's going to finish off being that way."