Cowboys pitcher Andrew Heaney said he didn't have his best stuff early Friday night against OU, even though any struggles were hardly apparent.
“Probably the first three innings,” Heaney said, “I wasn't throwing my slider very well, wasn't throwing my changeup for a strike. So it was kind of limiting me on pitches I could throw.”
From the fourth inning on, however, Heaney was dialed in, allowing but two baserunners, both of whom were erased on double plays.
“After the third, I hit a rhythm and ran with it,” he said.
Cowboys coach Frank Anderson said the ability to adjust is what makes Heaney special.
“When you can make that change in the middle of a game and turn it around, where you can start burying that slider, that's when you're pretty special. I've only had a handful of guys who can do that – and do it in the middle of the game.
“Most guys panic right there.”
Game 2 of the series shifts to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark Saturday, with a 7:07 p.m. first pitch.
The Cowboys are expected to send left-hander Kyle Ottoson (4-5, 3.12 ERA) to the mound, while the Sooners go with right-hander Jonathan Gray (4-4, 4.23 ERA).
Ottoson earned the win over OU in Stillwater back on April 24, pitching 8 1/3 innings in the 6-1 victory. Ottoson allowed five hits – all singles – and struck out four while not allowing a runner past second after the first inning.
OU coach Sunny Golloway credited Heaney for his outing, yet also suggested the Sooners might have helped the Cowboys ace.
“We offered at way too many balls out of the zone,” Golloway said. “I bet 35 pitches out of his 106 were strikes. I bet the rest of those pitches were out of the zone, pitches that we offered at.
“Now, to his credit, why throw the ball in the zone if you're going to offer at it out of the zone? It comes back to us having discipline at the plate.”
Bedlam baseball remains big in Tulsa.
Friday night's opener drew an overflow crowd of 9,158. The listed capacity at ONEOK Field: 7,833.
OSU's win kept them in a third-place tie in the Big 12 standings with Texas A&M, a 4-2 winner over Texas Tech on Friday. The Cowboys and Aggies are both 12-7 and will play each other in Stillwater in two weeks.
OU remained in fifth place at 9-9, solidly ahead of 7-12 Missouri.