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April 20, 2013

Offense snaps funk as Gray dominates in Sooners’ win

NORMAN — The personnel didn’t change much, but Oklahoma did some shuffling Friday night. The batting order was altered in an attempt to jolt a slumping team.

After the Sooners’ 10-0 victory over New Orleans at L. Dale Mitchell Park, the moves were validated.

The most obvious adjustments were at the top and the bottom of the order. Shortstop Jack Mayfield moved from the leadoff spot to the nine-hole. OU coach Sunny Golloway’s rationale was to take some pressure off the senior, who was batting just .238 coming into the game.

“It’s different because you have to wait a few innings before you hit,” Mayfield said, “but I trust all these guys who hit before me. It’s good to have runners on base when you come up.”

Mayfield only had one hit, but it was a three-run homer (Mayfield’s fourth of the season) in the seventh inning.

The other switch was putting Matt Oberste in the leadoff spot. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound slugger doesn’t fit the profile of a leadoff hitter. The moves were intended to get Oberste to be more selective at the plate and to get Mayfield to be more aggressive.

“He hadn’t been swinging very hard because his timing has been off,” Golloway said. “Even when he swung and missed tonight, I was encouraging him because he was making great swings. I want him to be more aggressive and I think he’ll do that on the back side of the lineup.”

Mayfield hit three balls on the sweet spot, flying out at the warning track in left field twice before belting the three-run blast in his final at-bat.

“I had been pressing and maybe it was nerves or something,” Mayfield said. “I just tried to square the ball up and find some holes.”

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