Gray deals, Sooners even Bedlam series

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Sooners kept their NCAA hopes on life support, evening the best-of-three series against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State with a 8-4 victory Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

"I was proud of our effort, coming back," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "I thought we did a great job with our backs to the wall. Tomorrow will be fun because it will be all about the series."

A series OU can now win and a season-series it can tie up at two games apiece should it win tomorrow.

On this night, the Sooners were certainly firing on all cylinders, unlike many recent outings.

Pitcher Jonathan Gray threw seven-plus solid innings, allowing just a pair of earned runs while striking out seven and walking three, and the offense picked him up, banging out eight runs on 11 hits.

"The outing felt really good," Gray said. "It really helps a lot, too, whenever the offense comes out, you know, and bangs the ball around the yard. And I feed off that and it makes things a lot easier for me."

Right fielder Cody Reine delivered the big blow that set the tone early, a two-run triple to right center that made it 3-0 in the first following shortstop Caleb Bushyhead's RBI sacrifice fly.

"I was more relaxed tonight than I have been in a while and it felt good," Reine said.

Designated hitter Matt Oberste, who finished 4-for-4 in the contest, crushed one out of the park to left in the top of the second, making it 4-0.

Oberste recorded his second RBI in the fifth on a ball shot right back up the middle which gave OU a five-run advantage.

"Well, yesterday I just wasn't seeing the ball real well," Oberste said. "And, you know, I came up there today, I changed my stance up just a little bit, spread my legs out, you know, just trying to hit balls in the zone. And it paid off."

That eventually proved to be the winning run.

A safety squeeze play by left fielder Erik Ross, an RBI single from first baseman Hunter Lockwood and a double from offensive leader and center fielder Max White plating Lockwood boosted the lead to 8-0.

Two walks, two wild pitches, two hits and a hit-by-pitch allowed Oklahoma State to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the eighth.

Shortstop Hunter Bailey had the huge hit of the inning when he lined one off the left field wall that missed being a home run by just a couple feet.

Still, reliever Jake Fisher settled down, got out of the inning and recorded his first save of the season.

Oklahoma State pitcher Kyle Ottoson, who dominated the Sooners in their first appearance this year, was chased and tagged with the loss after giving up four runs in just an inning-plus.

Gray improved to 5-4, and the Sooners improved to 30-18, 10-9 in Big 12 play.

That leaves them just a game and a half behind the Cowboys heading into Sunday's finale at 4 p.m. CT.

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