By John Helsley
An ugly start led to an uglier finish at Mitchell Park, where Arkansas routed OU 17-6 in the Norman Regional, knocking the Sooners into the loser’s bracket of the tournament.
OU faces elimination at 1 p.m. Sunday against Washington State. It also faces a scenario of three straight must-win games to win the regional.
The night started with some deja vu at the ballpark for OU pitcher Michael Rocha, who didn’t get out of the first inning.
And this time, the bullpen couldn’t save him.
After the Sooners spotted Rocha a 1-0 lead in the top of the first (OU is host, but not the “home” team tonight), Rocha gave up a 3-run bomb to make it 4-1, then a 4-pitch walk to the next batter.
And he was done.
As you may recall, it was a similar story in his last start, in the Big 12 Tournament. Handed a 6-0 lead in the first, Rocha scuffled from the outset and didn’t get out of the first inning.
OU’s run in the first came on a Jamie Johnson leadoff double and a double-play groundout.
Arkansas added two third-inning runs off Robinson, who allowed a double, a walk and a two-run single.
The Hogs added three more in the fifth off Robinson and OU’s third pitcher, Tyson Seng.
And it kept piling on, with the Hogs finishing with a season-high – and a high given up by the Sooners this season – 20 hits, including eight for extra bases.