NORMAN — Anything you can do I can do better is competition Oklahoma pitchers Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton are involved with constantly. They are the Nos. 1 and 2 pitchers on the pitching staff, but neither wants to take a back seat to the other.
Overton pitched like he had something to prove Saturday in the Sooners’ 7-2 victory. The goal was to one-up Gray following his complete-game shutout on Friday night.
“We’re best friends, but we’re both very competitive,” Overton said. “I didn’t care at all about switching from Friday to Saturday. None of that matters to either of us. I was more competitive about trying to match how he threw yesterday than the days we throw. To come out and throw as well as I did for my team was unbelievable.”
Overton didn’t get the complete game. A blister on the middle finger of his left hand ended his day after 71⁄3 innings of six-hit ball. Nonetheless, he answered the challenge and improved to 5-1.
The only difference between OU’s 1-0 victory Friday and what transpired Saturday came at the plate.
The Sooners scored all of seven of their runs on two-out hits. Matt Obertse, who has now hit safely in all 20 games, kick-started the afternoon with an RBI single in the third inning and Hector Lorenzana followed with a two-run single.
“It just carried over,” said Lorenzana, who went 2 for 3. “Two-out hits are about passing the bat over to the next guy.”
The same thing happened in the sixth inning. Garrett Carey kickstarted the two-out rally with a solo homer — his third of the season. Hunter Haley followed with a single and scored on Jack Mayfield’s double. Craig Aikin completed it with an RBI single.
“The key is to get guys in scoring position any way you can,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. The Sooners did that by collecting 11 hits. Seven of those came with two outs.
The Demons (9-12) went 0 for 6 with two outs, grounding into two inning-ending double plays and were picked off to end another inning. A.J. Funk (0-3) took the loss. He gave up four runs on five hits over four innings.
The victory was OU’s fourth straight and lifted it to 16-4. The teams return to L. Dale Mitchell Park at 1 p.m., today for the series finale.
The competition between Gray and Overton will re-ignite next Friday when TCU comes here for the Big 12 Conference opener. When those two are trying to one-up each other, the Sooners have shown the last two games they play at a higher level.
“We’re the types of guys that they try to ride off of us and do as much as they can in the field behind us. We need them to do that for us,” Overton said. “They did it today and you couldn’t ask for more.”
Follow me @john_shinn