Oklahoma pitcher Bobby Shore doesn’t like to complicate things. When asked what he did so effectively in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over North Carolina, he was brief.

“I threw strikes,” the junior right-hander said of a performance that only yielded four hits over 71⁄3 innings and included six strikeouts with no walks.

There’s little doubt it was Shore’s best performance of the season. He handcuffed a good team and did it to help the Sooners secure their first regional title since 2006.

The outing wasn’t out of the blue. Shore has shown he can be a very effective pitcher. He improved to 9-4 with the victory.

What he did was show there’s no more effects from a midseason slump that nearly cost him his job in OU’s rotation.

A month ago, Shore was roughed for four early runs in the middle game of the Bedlam series. The 4-3 loss to Oklahoma State prevented a sweep, and also raised questions about the Sooners’ starting pitcher with the postseason closing in.

It was part of a string of four starts where Shore failed to make it through the fourth inning three times. The last was OU’s May 23 game at Kansas. Shore gave up seven runs and five hits over 32⁄3 innings. He also walked four.

He was on track to do it against Kansas State in OU’s final game in the Big 12 tournament, when OU coach Sunny Golloway came to the mound after Shore had walked two of the first three batters he faced.

Whatever Golloway said remains a mystery.

He told the infielders to go back to their positions. He even told catcher Tyler Ogle to go back behind the plate.

His speech was for an audience of one.

“He needed to get on to me there. He did the right thing. He told me some stuff that I needed to hear,” Shore said. “It was good for me.”

When Shore is good, it’s good for the Sooners.

The problem for Shore has been finding something between great and mediocre.

“He doesn’t want to mess up,” Ogle said. “He’s kind of a perfectionist.”

But perfection is rarely achieved in baseball.

Golloway’s biggest issue with Shore had been the way he’d handled the situation once perfection was no longer possible. During the string of bad starts, Shore wasn’t pitching out of jams. Once he made a mistake, more followed.

The one trait all good pitchers share is the ability to battle through trouble. The soft-spoken very likable nature that makes Shore a great guy among teammates wasn’t serving him well in tight situations.

“When you get on that mound you have to have a different attitude. You have to be mean on that mound,” Golloway said.

The only reason it turned into a five-week long ordeal is because the Sooner coaching knew what Shore could potentially mean to the team.

He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball. Shore’s a pitcher who knows how to keep the ball in the strike zone, but away from the fat part of the bat.

“We knew in order to be the team we thought we could be, we needed him,” OU pitching coach Mike Bell said.

The result was a great performance in a regional-clinching victory. If the Sooners’ Super Regional series at Virginia, which starts Saturday, goes three games, Shore will be asked to do it again.

Shore doesn’t see why he can’t do it again.

“I know I’m a good player,” he said. “I just need to go out there and pitch with confidence.”

John Shinn 366-3536 jshinn@normantranscript.com

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