Saturday, March 16, 2013

Baseball: Sooners Down Northwestern State, 1-0

Junior right-handed starting pitcher Jonathan Gray fanned a career-high 12 in a complete-game effort to push the No. 17-ranked University of Oklahoma baseball team to a 1-0 victory Friday over Northwestern State in the opener of a three-game weekend series at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

The Sooners (15-4) posted their third shutout in the last five games. OU blanked UCLA last Saturday in Los Angeles, 4-0, behind seven solid innings from Gray, then shut down New Mexico State, 8-0, on Tuesday in Norman.

Gray, who tossed his first complete-game shutout in the triumph over the Demons (9-11), has not allowed a run in 16 straight innings The reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week allowed just five hits, improving to 4-1 on the season.

"John was really special tonight," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "He mixed his pitches really well. He showed great command and presence on the mound. We're extremely pleased he put together back-to-back solid outings as he gets ready to start Big 12 play next week."

Oklahoma's lone run came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when junior infielder Matt Oberste drilled his team-leading sixth home run of the season over the left field fence. He has now hit safely in 22 straight games dating back to the 2012 season, which ties Aaron Baker (2007) for the third-longest such streak in school history.

"It's pretty special and pretty remarkable," said Golloway of Oberste's white-hot hitting. "He's keeping it simple at the plate. He's trying to be patient and get a ball in the zone."

Northwestern State's Robert Baker was nearly as effective on the mound, allowing just one run on six hits on the evening. He walked two and struck out five in the complete-game effort.

"It speaks to the assembly of talent that we have," said Golloway of his team finding different ways to win. "We've got some power, we've got some speed. We've got solid hitters. It was a rough night for both teams, offensively, because of the outstanding pitching on both sides."

Oklahoma goes for the series win over Northwestern State Saturday at L. Dale Mitchell Park. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised live on FOX College Sports.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
 N.C. State 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
 Oklahoma 0 0 1 2 0 0 X 3 6 1

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