By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma shuffled its pitching rotation for the Texas Tech series because one of its two aces — Dillon Overton — was out with elbow inflammation.
The shuffle produced another ace Friday night.
Jake Fisher, who made his first start of the season, struck out 10 and held the Red Raiders to seven hits over 7 1-3 innings.
He still has to wait to get the victory. The game was suspended after eight innings due to thunderstorms. OU leads 8-0. The game will resume at noon today.
OU coach Sunny Golloway took a gamble by moving Fisher, who has been one of the Sooners’ best relievers, to a starting role. The senior from Tahlequah had made 19 career appearances prior to Friday, but none were starts.
The coach called Fisher on Thursday night to see what he thought about it. Fisher told Golloway he’d do his best. Those weren’t the words the coach wanted to hear.
“He was like, ‘I don’t want your best. I want you to go out there and win,’” Fisher said. “I was like, OK, I’m gonna out there and win. That’s how it went down.”
The result will come today, but Fisher put OU in a position to do it. The only trouble he faced was from giving up back-to-back, one-out doubles to Devon Conley and Jake Barrios in the top of the first inning.
The pair gave OU a major break when Conley was standing at second to tag up when Barrios’ ball hit the wall. He was only able to get to third. Barrios didn’t notice he was there and ran into the second out at third base.
“My team settled me down after that,” Fisher said. “I put it in my head that if I settled down and hit my spots everything would be all right. Everything worked out.”
OU didn’t waste any scoring opportunities. Matt Oberste went 3 for 4 and scored three runs in his fourth straight game in the leadoff spot.
Colt Bickerstaff went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs while Jack Mayfield connected for a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break the game open.
Over the last four games, OU has scored 46 runs and averaged 1.46 runs per inning.
Jonny Drozd got the start for the Red Raiders and allowed five runs on 10 hits.
When the game resumes today, the Sooners will be three out from improving to 32-10 overall and a Big 12 Conference leading 9-4. Without an eight-run rally in the ninth inning, the Red Raiders will drop to 19-23 and 5-11.
Game 2 of the series will start at 2 p.m. OU’s healthy ace — Jonathan Gray — will matchup against Texas Tech ace Trey Masek then.
Because of Fisher’s performance the Sooners will have an opportunity to claim the series today.
“Jake did a great job setting this up,” Golloway said, “but this game is not over; that’s what I just reminded my guys. The game isn’t over. I’ve seen strange things happen.”
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