When Oklahoma has done well this season, generally Dillon Overton and Jonathan Gray have generally been the driving forces.
So far in the Big 12 Tournament, Overton and Gray have likely put the Sooners back in the driver’s seat for an NCAA berth and put OU within a win of a championship-game appearance.
Friday, it was Overton coming through with five scoreless innings before giving way to the bullpen in an 8-0 win over Texas Tech at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
It wasn’t a cakewalk, though.
Overton loaded the bases with one out in the second with a pair of singles and a walk before getting Mason Randolph to ground into a double play to end the inning.
“Sometimes those are the toughest double-play balls,” Sooners coach Sunny Golloway said. “They are routine but if you don’t turn them, you are giving up runs.
“I thought that was what Dillon Overton needed to get going. he kind of breathed a sigh of relief after that inning.”
Red Raiders starter Dominic Moreno held the Sooners in check until the fourth when Colt Bickerstaff put OU on top with a single.
The Sooners then blew the game open in the final two innings, getting two in the eighth and five in the ninth.
“We just kept grinding it and felt like at some point we could string something together,” Golloway said. “But the runs were precious to us early.”
Now, the Sooners are in a familiar position.
Finishing 2-1 in pool play won't help Oklahoma make it to Sunday’s championship game.
Even before Kansas State's game against Baylor on Friday afternoon, Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. matchup between the Sooners and Wildcats was set to decide the pool winner.
The Sooners dropped two of three last week to the Wildcats to finish as the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
Jake Fisher will start on the mound for the Sooners. Fisher pitched seven innings in Sunday's regular-season finale win at Kansas State.
“We have to beat those guys if we want to get a ring,” Sooners second baseman Hector Lorenzana said. “We came in here to win a championship. Winning tomorrow is gonna give us a good opportunity to do that.”
Texas Tech and Baylor will play at 9 a.m. Saturday in a game that means nothing for either team as neither has a chance to advance to the championship and neither figures to be selected to play in a regional.
Oklahoma shouldn't have that problem after its pitching staff has opened the tournament with 18 consecutive scoreless innings.
Thursday, it was Gray throwing a complete-game shutout in a 2-0 win over Baylor.
Against Texas Tech, Overton, Ralph Garza and Kindle Ladd combined for the shutout.
Overton had battled through arm trouble and hadn’t made a start for 12 days before Friday's appearance.
Golloway planned to keep Overton around the 100-pitch mark. Overton threw 108 pitches against Texas Tech, with 26 coming in the second inning.
“It’s good,” Overton said of his arm. “It’s a little bit tired, but that’s expected when you haven't thrown a whole lot in the last two or three weeks. It bounces back really quick and I'll be ready to go next week.”