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May 9, 2013

Sooners’ Overton cleared to return in time for Pokes

NORMAN — The nightmare Dillon Overton experienced 15 days ago faded after a couple nights. The pain he felt in his left elbow wasn’t the cause of a major injury.

Nevertheless, until he heard the comforting words from Oklahoma’s medical staff, the left-handed pitcher couldn’t help but think the worst.

“It was terrifying, not just for me, but for my team and my family, everybody was worried,” he said Wednesday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

Overton can look back on it now because the worries are over. He started throwing off the mound again this week. Overton (8-2, 2.52 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound this weekend when the Sooners (34-14, 11-7 Big 12) take on Oklahoma State (34-12, 9-8) beginning Friday at ONEOK Field in Tulsa.

It was the series Overton targeted for his return, for a number of reasons, after the elbow inflammation he suffered during an April 23 bullpen session.

First and foremost, the junior from Weatherford loves pitching in the Bedlam series. He’s taken the mound every year since 2011 and seen countless more games growing up. The other reason: if things go right for Overton in next month’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft, it could be his final chance to pitch against the Cowboys.

“I don’t want to miss Bedlam because it is one of the most fun series to throw in,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I have to make it, but I really want to make it.”

There’s no doubt the Sooners need him. With Overton joining Jonathan Gray (8-1, 1.20 ERA), OU possess the best one-two starting pitching punch in college baseball. Both entered the year as likely first-round draft picks next month. The dominant display Gray has put on this season has made him a possible No. 1 overall pick.

Overton doesn’t have Gray’s 100 mile per hour fastball, but he can run it up to the plate at well over 90 miles an hour. He also has the knack for hitting spots and three really good pitches that all major league teams covet.

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