April 10, 2012

Magnifico Magnificent as Sooners Knock off Hogs

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Tuesday night at L. Dale Mitchell Ballpark junior right hander Damien Magnifico became just that as he delivered a career performance in the Crimson and Cream allowing just three hits as Oklahoma (19-14) knocked off No. 9 Arkansas 4-0.

Perhaps more importantly for the Sooners and head coach Sunny Golloway it was the way Magnifico went about his business logging 8.2 innings (career high) while only striking out four.

"He's a power pitcher. What we've asked him to do is back off a little bit and get strike one in there… When he backs off to 94 or 95 it become real simple if he gets ahead in the count and you now know you're behind the count. You're going to start swinging at stuff out of the zone and it gets really tough as a hitter so he's becoming more effective," said Golloway.

"They were hitting stuff right at us with ground balls, fly balls, etc.. He was keeping his pitch count down so again that's the key. It's the lesser of two evils: do you want to be behind a power guy like that and potentially strike out? Or do you want to put the ball in play? They chose to put the ball in play."

"He's going to pitch in the big leagues someday and we've got to protect him. He's going to make so much money I'm going to have to borrow some so let's make sure we take care of him."

Oklahoma got on the board in the first inning off a pair of two-out doubles by Caleb Bushyhead and Max White.

In the fifth inning, White added his second two-out RBI double as OU held a 3-0 lead.

"We've had a great couple of days of practice after the A&M series. We felt like we played well down there but a few small errors here or there cost us big runs so we came out the last two days and I've gone out in the cages and hit and changed a few things and the adjustments have turned out well," said White.

"I'm more up right and I'm not dipping down on balls. I have pretty long arms so extension is not an issue just standing up tall was the main concern."

Adjustments that- obviously- paid off for the Durant (Okla.) native as he reached the multi-hit plateau for a team leading No. 12 time.

Sooners Help Themselves

More than anything- even Magnifico's pitching performance- Tuesday's victory over Arkansas helped the Sooners lowly RPI (Rating Percentage Index). Ranked No. 86 as released Monday afternoon Oklahoma knows that every midweek match-up with the teams of the likes of Arkansas will prove to play a huge role down the stretch and on into post-season play.

"Yeah from here on out midweek games are big. I'm not really sure how it all works out with the RPI but I know it means a lot for postseason and we know it has to turn around and we have to keep getting better," said Max White.

"The attitude is completely different (right now). Guys are coming out here with an edge especially today as you could tell. One through nine in the lineup guys were hitting the ball really hard and of course Damien was throwing strikes and it showed. We got the win."

Oklahoma's midweek schedule still includes the likes of: at Oral Roberts (April 17), Dallas Baptist (April 25), and a home and home with Texas Christian (at TCU May 1 and at home May 15).

By the Numbers

3: Oklahoma pitching staff tied a season low only allowing three hits.

9: Senior Erik Ross nine game hitting streak came to an end Tuesday night as the McKinney (Texas) native went 0-for-4 from the plate with a run scored.

22: Magnifico hit over 100 mile per hour on the radar gun 22 times.

25: Tuesday night's victory was the first time Oklahoma shut out Arkansas in 25 meetings with the Razorbacks.

Next Up:

OU continues the four-game homestand against Missouri. Friday's opener and Saturday's evening match-up are set for 6:30 p.m. while Sunday's game three is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch. Fans that present their OU football spring game ticket on Saturday will receive $4 off admission.

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