NORMAN, Okla. -- Jordan John tossed the first nine-inning complete game of his career and did it with a career-high 11 strikeouts as No. 24 Oklahoma recorded a 5-1 win over visiting Kansas State in the series opener on Friday.
"He's a guy that can have any job, he can close, he can bridge the gap or he can start," said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway on John's performance.
Jack Mayfield led the Sooner offense with two hits, including his third home run of the season as OU won its sixth game in the last seven outings. The Sooners improved to 17-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big 12 while the Wildcats dropped to 13-12 and 2-5.
Kansas State struck first with a run in the game's initial frame off John, who was making his second straight Friday night start.
"The only reason that decision was made is because Jordan has one more year," said Golloway. "He's been in our program one extra year, so lets run him out there and Dillon (Overton) doesn't care. Dillon understands how important Saturday is and either one of those guys are going to keep our bullpen fresh and pitch out of jams, and they aren't going to get rattled if they give up a run early, and that's what Jordan did."
The OU offense responded with a sacrifice squeeze by Erik Ross to tie things up at one apiece in the third. It marked Ross' first game since exiting game two of the Texas series on March 17 with a hamstring injury. He later added an infield single as OU outhit Kansas State 7-6.
"I've been itching to get back out there," said Ross. "It was great to cheer on my teammates and see them perform well, but I was hungry to get out there. I had a few dreams even about trying to get coach "G" (Golloway) to write me in the lineup. I was more than ready to play today. It felt really good to get down the line like I did."
Oklahoma made its move in the fourth inning with a RBI single by Hunter Lockwood, his 23rd of the year, and tacked on two more runs thanks to a pair of Kansas State errors.
That was all John would need to improve to 4-3 on the year in his second start of the year and his first win since March 2 at New Mexico. He finished with one run allowed on six hits and two walks off a career-high 127 pitches. John did toss a complete game in 2011, a seven-inning run-rule against Arkansas Pine Bluff.
"Our offense did a great job again of stringing some runs together," said John. "After that, I was able to settle down and throw well and get the win.
John's counterpart, Matt Applegate (2-3), took the loss after giving up three earned runs off seven hits in eight innings pitched.
After Kansas State scored in the first inning, it didn't put a runner on second base again until the ninth inning. John retired the Wildcats in order in nine straight plate appearances, including a 1-2-3 fourth and fifth inning.
"Jordan did an excellent job," added Ross. "That's what we need our pitchers to do day in and day out and if we can put up runs like we did, I feel like they can maintain that and get the win."
The Sooners added some insurance in the seventh inning on Mayfield's third homer of the year, a solo shot to left field.
Game two on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. on the Sooner Sports Network KREF 1400 AM. The game will also be televised on Cox Ch. 3/703 HD.
P.O. Box 8 Tulsa, OK 74101-0008