Oklahoma baseball: With a pair of aces and strong defense, Sooners are in position for another run

One of just seven teams posting 40 wins in each of the past four seasons, OU is positioned for another run at that lofty victory total — maybe more — behind aces Dillon Overton and Jonathan Gray, solid defense and a station-to-station offensive approach.
by John Helsley Published: February 14, 2013
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photo - UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA / OU / NCAA TOURNAMENT / NCAA BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray (22) throws a pitch during an NCAA college baseball regional game against Army in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff) ORG XMIT: VAAS101
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA / OU / NCAA TOURNAMENT / NCAA BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray (22) throws a pitch during an NCAA college baseball regional game against Army in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff) ORG XMIT: VAAS101

Two of the region's premier prospects, Overton and Gray were clutch down the stretch for the Sooners a year ago, sparking a late-season surge that carried through the Charlottesville Regional and host Virginia and just short of Omaha, with OU eventually falling in the Super Regional to South Carolina.

Overton, a left-hander with control of four pitches, finished 6-3 with a 3.15 earned run average and 126 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings. Gray, a power right-hander, went 8-4 record with a 3.16 ERA a year ago.

Together, they represent two of the Big 12's four players on the Preseason Golden Spikes Watch List.

“We are two different kinds of guys,” Gray said, “left-handed, right-handed, two different bodies, two different kinds of pitchers. It works really well. It will throw off teams.”

Golloway believes he has another ace-quality arm in lefty Billy Waltrip, a junior college transfer who will round out the weekend rotation. Along with a set rotation, the Sooners return key parts in outfielders Max White and Matt Oberste and infielder Jack Mayfield to a lineup bolstered by several highly rated additions.

So expectations, as have become the norm, are Omaha or bust.

“I think we definitely have the pitching and defense,” Golloway said. “Scoring with these new bats is still a challenge, will always be a challenge. Our guys are doing a good job, they're working hard on the bunting game and they're working hard on getting it out of the air and to hit-and-run, keeping it simple — moving the guys up, scoring one run an inning.

“That'll be our goal, with our pitching and defense and maturity, I think we have a chance.”


by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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