Oklahoma beats Baylor again
Gray pitches into eighth inning to lead Sooners past Bears
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma completed a 5-0 season sweep of No. 3 Baylor on Saturday with a convincing 7-2 victory to advance to the Big 12 Championship game on Sunday.
Oklahoma (38-21) won its third consecutive game in the tournament and will face the winner of Missouri and Kansas. Baylor (44-14) was knocked out of the tournament and the Sooners are the top seed remaining in the field and will be playing for their first conference title since 1997.
The Sooners built a 4-0 lead after four innings behind two homers by Matt Oberste (3 RBI) and a career-high 7 2/3 innings by Jonathan Gray (8-4).
“I thought our guys played really well,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “The tournament so far, for us, has definitely been a grind with two walk-offs and I thought that the way we came out today and played real aggressive early on helped big Jon [Gray]. And Oberste, being in the lineup, he had a big day for us. The two balls leaving the yard early on were big for us.”
Oklahoma has won 22 of the last 29 games behind some strong pitching and timely offense.
“We knew if we were able to get the pieces all together, we would have something special,” added Golloway. “We’re playing good baseball right now.”
Saturday’s scoring started in the second inning as OU received back-to-back doubles by Jack Mayfield and Caleb Bushyhead for an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Then Oberste followed with his third home run of the year to bring in Bushyhead on a shot that left the ballpark in left field.
Gray gave up his first hit in the third inning and Baylor nearly got on the board two singles later before Cody Reine gunned down a runner at the plate.
In the fourth inning, Oberste came back with a solo shot that topped the homer in the first and landed in the parking garage behind the ballpark. Three of the designated hitter’s homers this year have come in Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and including the blast in the Bedlam series, each of the three have been shot out of the park beyond left field.
Baylor cut into the 4-0 lead with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, but that was one of the few mistakes made by Gray all morning. The right hander finished with six hits allowed and six strikeouts and one walk.
“I didn’t start off too hot but whenever you have an offense like that behind you, it really does give you some confidence and help you pitch,” said Gray.
Behind Gray’s solid outing, the Sooners quickly regained the four-run cushion and extended things to 7-1 in the top of the fifth after a triple by Erik Ross, a two-run double by Max White and a RBI single by Evan Mistich.
The Bears plated a late run off Gray late in the game but only managed six hits. Starter Joey Hainsfurther (2-1) lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up four runs off four hits and four walks.