By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Jonathan Gray didn’t feel extraordinary Thursday night, but he continued to pitch that way. The right-hander threw a complete-game two-hitter in Oklahoma’s 12-1 victory over Kansas at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The performance marked the third straight in which Gray (5-1) has thrown nine innings. Over that span, he’s given up three runs and walked just one. The 12 strikeouts he registered against the Jayhawks gave him 36 during the span.
“It seems like every time I go out, I build more confidence, so I throw everything with more conviction,” Gray said.
For six innings, Gray flirted with perfection. Kansas (14-9, 2-2) didn’t have a base runner until Dakota Smith broke up the perfect game bid with a lead-off double in the seventh inning. He scored on a double play.
That’s how tough it was for Kansas to scrape in a run. It went 2 for 29 at the plate.
“I’ve been in college baseball for 21 years and I haven’t seen a guy just, outing after outing, dominate like he has,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “I keep telling myself he’s not a professional, he’s an amateur pitcher and he’s gonna have some bumps in the road. Our job is to coach him up when he does. But he hasn’t had many bumps yet. He will, but he’s tough and he’ll be able to overcome it.”
There wasn’t much about OU’s performance that seemed amateurish. Gray’s outing actually overshadowed Matt Oberste setting a school record by running his hitting streak to 28 games.
Oberste did it in dramatic fashion with a three-run homer — Oberste’s eighth of the season — in the first inning.
“Feels great to do it,” said Oberste, who saw his batting average drop to .468 after a 1-for-4 night. “Glad all my teammates got to witness it. Glad we got it right this time. My family was here, too. Just to hit a home run to make it go on was an exclamation point.”
The Sooners (24-4, 4-0) smashed out 13 hits, including four for extra bases. Craig Aikin went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs. Kolbey Carpenter went 2 for 5 and drove in three, too.
Eight of those runs came in the seventh and eighth innings, but Gray likely would have stayed out there even if OU had a one-run lead. Gray’s fastball was still hitting the glove at just a shade under 100 mph in the ninth inning. He only threw 105 pitches.
“He’s doing amazing things right now,” OU catcher Anthony Hermelyn said. “Every time he takes the bump, he’s capable of doing something special. The guy throws hard and spots it up. It’s fun; it’s a great experience.”
Unless you have to hit it.
Frank Duncan (2-3) took the loss for Kansas.
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