OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – If good pitching stops good hitting, then great pitching … puts a team in the driver's seat of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
Fourth-seeded Oklahoma set a Championship record by spinning shutouts in its first two games. The Sooners' followed Johnathan Gray's complete game masterpiece by using three pitchers to stifle eighth-seeded Texas Tech, 8-0, Friday.
Oklahoma (38-19) will complete play in Pool One by facing top-seeded Kansas State at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner of that game will advance to Sunday's championship game.
"Tomorrow's game is extremely important for us," OU second baseman Hector Lorenzana said. "We have got to beat those guys if we want to get a ring. That's our goal. We came in here trying to win a championship, and winning tomorrow is going to give us a good opportunity to do that."
The Sooners' Dillon Overton is recovering from an arm injury that sidelined him for two series earlier this month. He worked out of two jams to keep the Red Raiders off the scoreboard.
"Coming off of an injury is just like a ladder; you've got to step up and get better each time you go out and play," said Overton, who improved his record to 9-2. "That's what I'm trying to do right now. (My arm's) good, but a little bit tired. That's expected though when you haven't thrown a lot the last three weeks."
In the bottom of the second, Texas Tech loaded the bases with one out but Overton coaxed a double play grounder from Taylor Randolph – his first GIDP in 284 plate appearances. In the Texas Tech fifth, an error and a walk with one out provided another chance but Overton got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat.
After working five innings and throwing 103 pitches, Overton was replaced by Ralph Garza Jr. He worked three scoreless inning and Kindle Ladd closed it out with a scoreless ninth. In 18 innings, Oklahoma pitchers have allowed seven hits with 17 strikeouts.
Texas Tech starter Dominic Moreno was outstanding, allowing just one run and scattering seven hits in seven innings. But the Sooners broke open a 1-0 game with two runs in the eighth and five in the ninth.
Texas Tech's season will end with its third and final game in Pool One Saturday. The Red Raiders (25-30) will take on Baylor at 9 a.m.
"We are just going to go out and play," first-year coach Tim Tadlock said. "You've got to have enough pride to go play tomorrow. We realize our season is over after tomorrow, but we respect the game and who we play it for. We are going to go out and play hard tomorrow."