BATON ROUGE, La. —
It was a turning point in the game.
“It was disappointing at the time,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “I know Big Jon well and you’re gonna have to pry the ball out of his hand once we get the lead and he’s probably gonna be a little bit tougher. The adrenaline starts flowing and he’s a thoroughbred. When those guys start smelling the finish line, he probably becomes a lot more efficient.”
Gray had to be perfect with the confusion Nola caused throughout OU’s batting order. The Sooners only had three base runners all night. Their last hit came on a two-out single by Bickerstaff in the top of the eighth inning.
“Coming into the game, I knew it was going to be a pitchers’ duel,” Nola said. “All Gray has done this year is be outstanding. Our whole team knew it was going to be a pitching duel, and we were going to get deep in the game — both of us.”
The loss ended the Sooners’ eight-game winning streak, which stretched back to the regular-season finale at Kansas State. Gray picked up two of those victories — against Baylor in the Big 12 tournament’s opening game and Game 1 of last week’s Blacksburg Regional against Coastal Carolina — with complete games.
The difference between Friday night and Gray’s previous two starts and the previous eight games was the complete lack of run support.
“We need to get over it pretty quick because we need to come back tomorrow,” Oberste said. “You know, it’s a three-game series and you have to win two. Jonathan did a good job throwing. We have to do a better job as hitters to get runs across.”
The teams meet again at 6 p.m. today at Box Stadium. LSU can clinch a 16th trip to the College World Series with a victory. OU must win today to force a third game Sunday to get back Omaha for the 11th time.
After losing with Gray — OU’s definitive ace — it’s a steep climb.
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