Balance key in Oklahoma's win over Shockers
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma's bats and John Brownell's arm gave the Sooners the lift they needed in the NCAA baseball tournament Sunday.
After beating Texas Christian 15-6, the top-seeded Sooners scored a dozen runs and had 13 hits in a 12-7 win over Wichita State.
Brownell threw eight innings of relief against third-seeded Wichita State, providing needed rest for the bullpen heading into Monday's deciding game against the Shockers.
"It's going to be a battle for both sides. It's going to be a lot of fun," Brownell said. "That's what college baseball is all about."
Wichita State (46-21) had 11 hits, including two home runs by Conor Gillaspie, but committed four errors and couldn't slow Oklahoma's offense. Ryan Rohlinger led the way for Oklahoma (43-20) with four hits, including a home run to start a four-run seventh inning.
"I'm just thankful we have another chance tomorrow," Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson said. "Today was their day, so we'll see how tomorrow is."
Oklahoma has won three straight games in the regional since blowing a late lead and losing to TCU in the Sooners' regional opener Friday.
"Not too high, not too low. That's why we've been able to do what we've been able to do," Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway said.
Oklahoma also reached a regional championship round last season before losing to Mississippi. Wichita State has failed twice since 1999 to reach a super regional after making the regional championship round. The Shockers had beaten Oklahoma in two previous meetings this season.
Oklahoma's four-run seventh came after Wichita State had tied the score at 6-6 on Josh Workman's sacrifice fly in the top of the inning.
After Rohlinger's home run to start the inning, Oklahoma got a RBI single from Aaron Reza and a two-run double by No. 9 hitter Joseph Hughes, who fouled off four pitches with two strikes before going the opposite way.
Oklahoma added two insurance runs in the eighth inning.
Brownell came on to start the second inning in relief of P.J. Sandoval, who gave up a two-run home run to Gillaspie in the top of the first. Brownell threw 130 pitches in eight innings -- both career highs -- providing badly needed rest to a bullpen that had struggled in the Sooners' previous three tournament games.
Brownell allowed nine hits and five runs while striking out seven batters and walking two.
"John Brownell got to take the baseball today far sooner than he expected," Golloway said. "He really just pitched his heart out. He went on fumes there late, but he knew what it meant to us to keep our bullpen intact."
Wichita State led 3-0 in the top of the third after a two-run home run from Gillaspie, who earlier had an RBI single. He later added a solo home run.
Oklahoma came back with two runs in the bottom of the third, one on a run-scoring triple by Chuckie Caufield. Caufield later scored on an error.
The Sooners added three runs in the fourth inning. Brandon Moss homered over the left-field wall to start the inning. Consecutive doubles by Kevin Smith and Kody Kaiser added another run, and Kaiser scored when Hughes reached on an error.
Oklahoma pushed its lead to 6-3 one inning later, on a two-out RBI single by Kaiser.
The Shockers scored two runs in the sixth on a solo homer by Matt Brown and a RBI single by Brandon Hall. They tied it one inning later on Workman's sacrifice fly.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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