Texas drops series opener to Oklahoma, 2-1

Peter Sblendorio

Texas knew it would have its hands full with Oklahoma starter Jonathan Gray.

Gray has been arguably the most dominant pitcher in the Big 12 in 2013, as he entered Friday with the conference lead in strikeouts and was fourth with a 1.34 ERA.

The Longhorns witnessed Gray’s dominance firsthand in Friday’s 2-1 series opening loss to the Sooners, as the right-hander struck out four of the first seven batters and finished the game with eight punch outs. Gray allowed just one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 6-1.

“He pitched a very effective game,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “We faced a real good pitcher and we battled him.“

Oklahoma backed Gray with an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by clean up hitter Matt Obereste to score Craig Aiken. Texas would answer with a run in the third after a wild pitch by Gray scored Mark Gottsacker, but the Sooners took the lead for good in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Anthony Hermelyn.

The Longhorns loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning and had runners on second and third in the seventh with two outs, but they failed to score in either frame. They finished the game with eight hits in what was just the second time in seven contests that they failed to record a double-digit hit total.

Parker French registered a strong start after putting together his shortest outing of the year last Friday, as he held the Sooners to two runs on 5 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Despite the strong effort, the sophomore was saddled with the loss and fell to 3-2 on the season.

Following the game, players were disappointed with the game’s result but were confident that games will begin to go their way if they continue playing with a lot of effort.

“We are so close, and everyone knows that,” Gottsacker said. “It’s extremely frustrating but we just have to keep going out their and doing the same thing, grinding. We played extremely hard today. I think everyone was proud about the way the play, just not about the outcome.”

Texas will look to even the series Saturday at 2 p.m. as they host the Sooners at Disch-Falk Field for the second game of the three-game set.