John also dealt a career-high 11 strikeouts--his previous high was nine--and he continued to roll despite yet another career-high, offering 127 pitches.
“I feel like for the first time today in my warmup routine and everything, I was tuned in,” John said. “My mechanics were good. I was mentally focused and that transitioned over to the game.”
Yes, it did.
He allowed a run in the top of the first inning and from that point on was lethal.
In fact, after that first inning, John kept the Wildcats from putting a runner in scoring position again until the ninth inning.
He stranded a pair in scoring position then.
John recorded a 1-2-3 fourth and fifth and went a stretch of nine straight batters without a base runner.
As evident from that, he was flat in the zone.
“First inning, you know, come out, we got to get a little lather going,” John said. “And after that, I was able to put up zeros with that. So, I’m very happy with that. I’m very happy with the win and hopefully we’re gonna keep the momentum going, we’re gonna keep going and we’re gonna win the series, too.”
Someone else who’s happy about the way things are going now is head coach Sunny Golloway.
He recently gave the nod to his lefty, shifting fellow lefty Dillon Overton to Saturday, and it certainly paid dividends on this night.
“The only reason that decision was made is because Jordan has one more year,” Golloway said. “He’s been in our program one extra year, so let’s run him out there and Dillon doesn’t care. Dillon understands how important Saturday is and either one of those guys are going to keep our bullpen fresh and pitch out of jams, and they aren’t going to get rattled if they give up a run early, and that’s what Jordan did.”
Meanwhile, the offense gave him plenty enough run support.
The way John was cruising, five runs proved to be an ample amount to keep that lead.
“The whole time I was thinking to myself, it’s like, ‘Come on guys, just get me two or three runs, two or three runs and we’ll be good. We’ll cruise.’ And, you know, our offense did a great job once again stringing some runs together and after that I was able to just settle down and throw well and get the win.”
In his first game back after suffering a hamstring injury a couple weeks ago, center fielder Erik Ross got the Sooners on the board and tied it up at one in the bottom of the third when he laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to score designated hitter Chase Simpson.
“I’ve been itching to get back out there,” Ross said. “I mean, sitting those few games that I did sit, I mean it was great to cheer on my teammates and actually see them perform well. But I was hungry to get out there. I had a few dreams even about trying to convince Coach G to write me in the lineup, so I was more than ready to play today.”
OU took command the following inning on three runs, courtesy of three hits and a pair of Wildcat errors.
First, first baseman Hunter Lockwood ripped an RBI single up the middle.
Then, catcher Dylan Neal bounced a ball down to third that scooted past both the third baseman and shortstop, scoring both Lockwood and Sooner shortstop Caleb Bushyhead.
Second baseman Jack Mayfield capped off the scoring when he smashed a solo shot to left in the bottom of the seventh.
So, it was a complete game all around, one that gives OU an opportunity to even its Big 12 record at 4-4 Saturday after dropping its first four.
“Well, I think it’s big,” Golloway said. “You know, it’s not so much that it’s the first conference win at home. It’s a win in the first game, which is something we haven’t done in Big 12 play and we know we’ve got some games we got to make up. That’s the bottom line.”
Mayfield, as he’s grown accustomed to lately, paced the Sooner offense again, going 2-for-4 with that homer.
Lockwood and White each finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The two get back in action at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
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