AUSTIN, Texas — Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray didn’t feel like himself Friday night. His mechanics were slightly off and the decision to dye the whiskers on his chin red gnawed at him as well.
“It was an awful idea,” Gray said about the impromptu dye job.
The hard-throwing right-hander fought through that decision and everything else to lead the Sooners to a 2-1 victory over Texas on Friday.
Calling the victory coveted would be selling it short. The win snapped OU’s three-game losing streak in the Red River Rivalry that dated back to last season. It hadn’t won a series opener against Texas since 2002, and the last time it took the first game of series in Austin was in 1998.
OU’s players knew most of that going in. The difference Friday night was that the past didn’t matter. Gray was pitching. OU’s become comfortable playing razor-tight, low-scoring games when he’s on the mound.
“We always have confidence that Jon is going to come out and shut the other team down every game,” said first baseman Matt Oberste, whose 30-game hitting streak ended Friday. “All we have to do is play some good defense behind him and get some clutch hits here and there.”
The opener of the Red River Rivalry followed that script.
Oberste put the Sooners on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly to score Craig Aikin in the top of the first inning. Catcher Anthony Hermelyn plated the go-ahead run with an RBI single to score Kolbey Carpenter in the top of the sixth inning.
It wasn’t a stellar offensive performance by the Sooners (26-5, 6-1 Big 12). They only had seven hits, and none of them went for extra bases.
It was just slightly more productive than Texas (16-12, 2-5), which had eight hits, but none resulted in runs. The only run Gray allowed came on a wild pitch that allowed Matt Gottsacker to score in the third inning.