Sooners Finish No. 5 in National Rankings

NORMAN, Okla. -- One day after South Carolina won the 2010 NCAA National Championship, the final polls of the season were released and the Sooners found themselves sitting at a consensus No. 5 national ranking.

It marked the highest finish for OU since claiming the program's second national title in 1994. Despite the 2010 campaign ending with a loss to South Carolina in the bottom of the 12th inning at historic Rosenblatt Stadium, the Sooners succeeded in adding another chapter of success to the storied tradition of OU baseball.

OU (50-18) produced just the fifth 50-win season in program history, and did so after replacing nine players to the 2009 MLB Draft.

Fresh off making the program's 10th College World Series appearance, a first since 1995, the Sooners are already predicted by Baseball America as part of its "Eight for Omaha" in 2011.

"It's very flattering, the fact remains that we have to stay humble, hungry and continue to work hard," said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway. "And if we do those things, it gives us a great opportunity."

A big part of that 2011 prediction lies in the fact that OU returns most of its starting lineup and rotation next season. The only definite mainstay departure is senior reliever Jeremy Erben, while the coaching staff awaits decisions from junior Zach Neal and sophomore Garrett Buechele on whether or not to pursue professional baseball or return for another season in Crimson and Cream.

Not only did OU hit over .300 as a team for the fifth straight year and produce the program's second 100-plus home run season, the Sooner pitching staff also recorded the first team ERA under 4.00 since 1984. The 3.76 ERA was accompanied by a school-record 583 strikeouts.

"While we look back with pride on our recent success, we are extremely excited and motivated to get things started for next season," said Golloway.

"We were a young team in 2010 and will use that experience and build upon that success to make the journey back to Omaha."

Golloway and company look at Oregon State's program as a blueprint for success. The Beavers made their second CWS appearance in 2005 and went 0-2. They returned to Omaha in 2006 and 2007 to claim back-to-back NCAA Championships.

"We believe that's how it should be done," added Golloway.

Similar to his efforts in promoting fan interest for the 2010 NCAA Norman Regional, Golloway is putting his public relations' hat back on in the offseason.

"We are excited for next year and we know our fans are too," said Golloway. "I want to encourage fans to purchase season tickets as soon as possible, so they are not left out of the journey in 2011 back to Omaha.

"We want to create the same home-field advantage that we have experienced in our NCAA Regionals throughout the regular season. I beleive that can and will be done."

Fans can receive more information on season tickets for the 2011 season online at SoonerSports.com.


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