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Oklahoma's six-run second inning clinches regional

6/6/2006

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma pitcher Daniel McCutchen stood on
the mound at L. Dale Mitchell Park on Monday night and fought two
battles.
The first was with Wichita State in the championship game of the
Norman Regional. The second was with his own mind. He won both as
Sooners scored six second-inning runs and held on for a 7-6 victory
over the Shockers.
The Sooners, who lost their first-round game to Texas Christian
on Friday, beat Houston, TCU and Wichita State twice in three
subsequent days to claim their first regional title since 1995, a
season in which they reached the College World Series.
Oklahoma (44-20) also hadn't won four straight NCAA tournament
games since 1995. The Sooners will play at Rice later this week in
the tournament's super regional round. Rice beat the Sooners 8-2 on
Feb. 17 in Houston but Oklahoma routed the Owls 15-3 on April 18 in
Norman.
Since 1999, Wichita State (46-22) has reached the regional
championship round on three occasions and lost each time.
"All we needed was a break here and there and we didn't get
it," Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson said. "That's just the
way it fell."
McCutchen pitched threw 5 2/3 innings of relief Monday to get
the win and improve to 9-8. His performance came less than three
days after he threw 8 2/3 innings in Oklahoma's first-round loss to
TCU. McCutchen took the loss in that game, marking the fourth time
he lost a game in the final inning.
"I got that monkey off my back and threw it a long ways,"
McCutchen said. "He's off my back for good now."
Joseph Hughes, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, hit a two-run
single and Chuckie Caufield hit a three-run homer to ignite OU's
second-inning outburst. All the runs came with two outs.
Wichita State starter Rob Musgrave (6-3) lasted only 1 2/3
innings. However, the Shockers' bullpen stopped the bleeding.
Anthony Capra, Matt Smith, Damon Sublett and Noah Booth held the
Sooners scoreless until the eighth.
That's when Oklahoma picked up what proved to be a huge
insurance run on Russell Raley's RBI single, which scored Hughes.
Wichita State's Noah Krol, who went 3-for-4 three RBIs, drove in
Brian Spear with a double in the bottom of the third inning and
Conor Gillaspie singled home Krol.
The Shockers added two more runs with on Spears' two-run single
in the sixth inning and Krol narrowed the gap to 7-6 with a two-run
home run with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. It was only
Krol's second home run of the season.
After Krol's home run, Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway went out
the to the mound for a visit. But he elected to leave the game in
McCutchen's hands.
One out later, Josh Workman singled, and he went to third base
on Gillaspie's bad-hop single. But Derek Schermerhorn hit into a
force play, ending the Shockers' season.
"He was still strong and still wanted to pitch," Golloway said
of his decision to leave McCutchen in the game. "But the main
reason was after all he'd been through he deserved to be under that
dogpile."
Oklahoma is the second state team to reach the final 16 of the
NCAA tournament. Oral Roberts of Tulsa earned a spot opposite
Clemson by beating Oklahoma State on Sunday night in the title game
of the Fayetteville Regional.