Jonathan Gray dealt a career-high 12 strikeouts and won a 1-0 pitchers’ duel in the series opener over the Northwestern State Demons Friday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
From the beginning he dealt, striking out batter after batter, including the side in the second and sixth and multiple batters also in the fifth in his first complete game shutout since high school.
”Everything was on,” Gray said. “And the weird thing is I didn’t even throw my third pitch today. I only threw two pitches. I threw my fastball and my slider and I threw them both for strikes, and they were really effective. They chased out of the zone. I got them to do what I wanted them to.”
Meanwhile, designated hitter Matt Oberste provided OU with all the offense it needed, extending his hitting streak to a program third-best 22 games—that’s tied with Aaron Baker’s identical mark back in 2007—with a fourth inning bomb to left on a 3-0 offering.
”Fastball down the middle is what I saw,” Oberste said. “You know, I think he was trying to get a quick strike, try to work the zone and he didn’t get a strike called and Coach gave me the green light. And we’re taught if we’re gonna hit a ball on green light, on 3-0, to start early and look for the fastball.”
The Sooners eventually managed six hits, while Gray, who touched 100 still in the ninth inning, limited the Demons to just four hits without walking a batter.
”Felt great, yeah,” Gray said. “I was just trying to fill up the zone and not give them any walks. I mean, I didn’t walk anyone today, I don’t think, so yeah I was just trying to compete and let our defense back me up and they were there.”
Northwestern State’s Robert Baker was tagged with the tough luck loss after striking out five and walking just two in a complete game as well.
”Their guy was really good,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “So, you gotta tip your cap. He made it tough on our guys.”
OU, much improved defensively over the last few games, did commit an error but was otherwise solid in the field on a night where offense clearly wasn’t at a premium.
The two will continue the series with a 2 p.m. contest Saturday.
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