Junior right-handed starting pitcher Jonathan Gray fanned a career-high 12 in a complete-game effort to push No. 17 Oklahoma to a 1-0 victory Friday over Northwestern State in the opener of a three-game weekend series at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Sooners (15-4) posted their third shutout in the last five games. OU blanked UCLA last Saturday in Los Angeles, 4-0, behind seven solid innings from Gray, then shut down New Mexico State, 8-0, on Tuesday in Norman.
Gray, who tossed his first complete-game shutout in the triumph over the Demons (9-11), has not allowed a run in 16 straight innings The reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week allowed just five hits, improving to 4-1 on the season.
Oklahoma's lone run came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when junior infielder Matt Oberste drilled his team-leading sixth home run of the season over the left field fence. He has now hit safely in 22 straight games dating back to the 2012 season, which ties Aaron Baker (2007) for the third-longest such streak in school history.
Northwestern State's Robert Baker was nearly as effective on the mound, allowing just one run on six hits on the evening. He walked two and struck out five in the complete-game effort.
Jason Hursh was dominant on the mound in leading 24th-ranked Oklahoma State to its third-straight win Friday night as the Cowboys opened a four-game series against Iona with a 9-0 triumph at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
A sophomore right-hander, Hursh recorded a complete game shutout as he racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts and allowed just four hits, all singles. He did not issue a walk, allowed only two runners past first base and needed only 89 pitches to finish off the Gaels and improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Cowboys collected 15 hits on the night, and every hitter in the Cowboys' starting lineup collected at least one hit, with Randy McCurry's 3-for-4 outing leading the way.
With Hursh's dominance, OSU (14-3) put the game away early thanks to some clutch two-out hitting as eight of the Cowboys' nine runs in the contest came with two outs.
OSU took a 1-0 advantage in the second inning on an RBI double by Trey Whaley, and in the third, the Cowboys rallied for three runs, the big blow coming on Victor Romero's team-leading fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field.
The Pokes added two more runs in the fourth on RBI doubles by Aaron Cornell and Tanner Krietemeier, took a 7-0 advantage in the sixth on another RBI double off the bat of Cornell and tallied their final two runs in the eighth thanks to a run-scoring single by Jarrett Higgins and an RBI walk by Craig McConaughy.
The two teams return to action Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
Eighth-ranked Cal State Fullerton proved to be a tough test on Friday night as they topped the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at J.L. Johnson Stadium, 5-0, the seventh in a row for ORU.
Game two of the three game series is set for a 2 p.m. start on Saturday.
Pitching well through the first six innings was Oral Roberts starter Alex Gonzalez (1-4). The junior struck out eight batters, but allowed two runs in the top of the seventh and three in the eighth.
Nathan Garza finished the eighth inning and Taylor Tryon entered in the ninth to hold the Titans at bay. Neither pitcher allowed a hit and fanned one batter each.
Thomas Eshelman earned the victory for the Titans (4-1).
The Golden Eagles had several opportunities as the game went along to score some runs, eventually tying the Titans with a total of six hits. On four different occasions, the Golden Eagles had runners in scoring position, but were unable to cash in on the chances.
Of those chances, Nate Goro found himself in a position to score a run twice after he singled in the second, reaching second on a groundout, and he doubled in the seventh. Goro finished the game with three hits in as many at bats.
Logan Domenico, Matt Brandy and Chris Williams each singled as well.
Following Goro's double in the seventh, the Golden Eagles had their best opportunity to push a runner across, trailing 2-0, but Austin Colt was robbed of a double down the left field line by a diving Fullerton third baseman.
The Titans scored their first two runs of the ball game in the top of the seventh on a couple of base hits and a pair of walks. After the ORU half of the seventh, the Titans added three more in a crazy top of the eighth.
The inning began with a triple into the right field corner from Carlos Lopez. Two batters later, J.D. Davis reached base as Lopez was caught in a run down. However, Lopez was eventually ruled safe when the Golden Eagles were unable to apply a tag, allowing Davis to advance to second.
ORU played the percentages with Michael Lorenzen at the plate, allowing him to take first with an intentional walk to load the bases. Unfortunately, the call didn't work in the Golden Eagle favor as Chad Wallach drew a walk as well to score Lopez.
For the second time this year, an opponent laid down a suicide squeeze against the Golden Eagles with the bases loaded. Keegan Dale executed the play perfectly, putting down a bunt that allowed Davis to score.
However, a mental breakdown by the ORU defense was neglected the runner originally standing on second. Recognizing the situation, Lorenzen sprinted for home, scoring uncontested.