March 10, 2012

Rankings are from CBI Composite Poll

click here for complete list of scores

click here for Around the Bases

CBI Live: No. 12 Oregon 12, West Virginia 0

CBI Live
ray grinds out win for Oklahoma

By Taylor Gelbrich


EUGENE, Ore. – The Ducks battled in the gray area all day, Oklahoma starter Jonathan Gray that is.


Gray (2-2) baffled hitters for No. 12 Oregon all night in the Nike College Showcase as the No. 17 Sooners claimed a 3-2 victory. Gray gave up only two runs on eight hits over seven innings. The sophomore struck out 10 and walked no one. Jordan John locked up the win for Gray as he picked up the save after giving up one hit in two scoreless innings.


Gray scattered eight hits by the Ducks (11-3) over seven innings, but it was his ability not to walk anyone that proved key in this tight battle of two Top 25 teams.


“It was definitely a big factor in the game,” Gray said. “I started off this year not the way I wanted to, but lately I’ve been pounding the zone and not walking people and that’s just a big factor in winning.


Oregon freshman starter Jake Reed (1-1) took the loss after going 6.2 innings and only giving up one earned run on five hits. Reed found himself in a lot jams against this Oklahoma (11-4) offense, but he found countless ways to get out of them to minimize the damage.


“He is a real good pitcher,” Oregon first baseman Ryon Healy said of Reed. “A real strong freshman, he doesn’t act like a freshman at all in the locker room. He is going to be big for us and really exciting to see him throw tonight against a great team like that. It was a lot fun to watch him compete.”


It was a really tight contested game on both sides. Both teams had right around the same amount of hits and runs. Both starting pitchers threw well and it came down to the little things and tonight Oklahoma did the little things better.


“Tonight, we came in and thought it was going to be a pitching and defensive game and it was both sides,” Oklahoma head coach Sunny Golloway said. “The hits were going to be hard to come by and the runs were going to be hard to come by, for both sides, and they were. That is really what it came down to was just one more key for us over them.”


Oklahoma was led by Max White and Tanner Toal as they combined to go 4 for 8 with three RBI. Oregon was paced by J.J. Altobeli and Aaron Payne as they combined to go 4 for 9 with two RBI.


The Sooners threatened early after two Reed walks in the first. With runners on the corners and White up to bat, Evan Mistich attempted to steal second only to have catcher Brett Hambright pump fake and get the aggressive Eric Ross trying to take home for the final out of the inning.


Oklahoma was first to break through in the third. Chase Simpson led off with a triple to left center that was just out of the reach of a diving Connor Hofmann. Toal was able to capitalize on the early runner in scoring position with a hard groundout to second that Payne was barely able to come up with for the first run of the game.


Payne led off the fourth with a line drive up the middle only to be moved over by an Aaron Jones sac. Healy came up big with a line drive base hit to right field. The Ducks looked as if they were going to tie up the game at one a piece, but Payne was held up late at third base. The call would prove to be pivotal after the Ducks came up empty in the inning and ended up losing by one.


Oregon was finally able to break through on Gray in the sixth. Altobeli, fresh off his Sportscenter Top 10 play to end Oklahoma’s inning, led off the sixth with a base hit to right.


Payne came up huge for the Ducks with his double down the right field line and just like that the Ducks tied the game up at one a piece. Jones follows up with a bunt for a base hit and Oregon had runners on the corners with nobody out.


Healy and Garlick failed to advance the runners for Oregon. Ryan Hambright came to the plate and worked a 2-2 count until the inning ended on your standard 1-2-5-3 play. Jones left first early and Payne left third as soon as Gray turned his back, which led to the inning-ending pickle.


Oklahoma responded in the seventh. Cody Reine led off the inning with a hit by pitch and advanced to second on a throwing error by the catcher. After being moved over to third by a groundout to second and holding on a jam job to the second baseman for the second out, Toal smoked an RBI single right past the head of Reed to give the Sooners a 2-1 lead.


The Sooners add to the lead in the eighth. Caleb Bushyhead got a base hit and made it to second on a passed ball. White came through in the clutch with a base hit through the left side which brought in Bushyhead, but White was caught trying to take second to end the inning.


Oregon would make it interesting in its half of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Brett Thomas helped set the table for the Ducks with a leadoff double down the left field line. Altobeli would pick up his second knock of the day with an RBI base hit to put the game at 3-2. Altobeli moved to second on a wild pitch and Jones took first on a walk with one down, but neither would score.


Oregon continued to make the game interesting in the ninth. After the first two Ducks went down on strikeouts, Brett Hambright took first on a walk. Pinch-runner Kevin Shepherd would come in for Hambright and make it to third on pinch-hitter Shaun Chase’s blooper over the second baseman’s head.


Oregon almost took the lead as the throw to third to get Shepherd went wide, but third baseman Garret Carey made a diving play to keep the ball from getting away. Altobeli fisted one out to second for the last out of the game as Oklahoma won 3-2.


“Like I told George [Horton] after the game, I said hey lets do it again in Omaha,” said Golloway. “I think they’ve got a great club. I think it was a big win for us on the road because I think they’ve got a great club and I think they are clearly in my mind a Top 10 team.”