BATON ROUGE, La. — For seven innings, Jonathan Gray dominated a very potent LSU lineup. The Oklahoma pitcher racked up strike outs in bunches and hadn’t even allowed a base runner to get into scoring position.
However, it only took one mistake to flip a game like the one the Sooners played against the Tigers Friday night at Alex Box Stadium. That one mistake was the difference in OU’s 2-0 loss that has its season one more loss away from ending.
Of the 118 pitches Gray threw, the one he wanted back was the 0-2 pitch to LSU’s Jacoby Jones with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Gray challenged Jones with a fastball. Jones belted it into the right-center field gap for a triple.
Neither Gray or OU recovered.
“I left the ball up,” said Gray, who dropped to 10-3 despite only allowing five hits and striking out nine over 7 1-3 innings. “I threw it too close the (strike) zone and it got hit.”
Two pitches later, Tyler Moore came off the bench and lined a double to right field to give the Tigers (56-9) a one-run lead, ending Gray’s night and the epic pitchers’ duel he waged with LSU’s Aaron Nola. The insurance run Mark Laird tacked on with a single to score Moore was just icing on the cake for the Tigers.
The LSU right-hander won because OU (43-20) couldn’t capitalize on the one mistake he made. Nola (12-0) threw a complete-game two-hitter. However, OU’s failure to capitalize on that first hit was the adrenaline rush Nola needed.
Matt Oberste led off the top of the fifth inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hector Lorenzana.
Oberste didn’t get any closer to scoring that precious run. Anthony Hermelyn struck out and Colt Bickerstaff couldn’t leg out a chopper to second base.