By John Shinn
BATON ROUGE, La. — Oklahoma sat in its dugout and watched as the infield of Alex Box Stadium became a mass of celebration. For the second straight year, the Sooners gazed as a national powerhouse reveled in another trip to the College World Series at their expense.
There was nothing else to do after OU’s 11-1 loss to the Tigers in Game 2 of their Super Regional series.
The win secured LSU’s 16th trip to the College World Series. The Sooners, for the second straight year, were two wins shy of a trip to college baseball’s cathedral. And, once again, overmatched in the best-of-three series.
“It just wasn’t meant to be this year,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said.
Hard not to feel that way after OU dropped its second straight game in front of over 11,000 rabid LSU fans. They got to spend the last three innings celebrating while OU struggled to get outs.
It was hard to believe after the first inning, the Sooners (43-21) actually led.
Max White’s RBI single plated Craig Aikin in the bottom of the first inning. The act of scoring actually sedated the crowd. But it was the only time in 18 innings in Baton Rouge, OU caused the scoreboard to flip.
“We couldn’t get over the hump in terms of quieting this atmosphere,” White said.
In that sense, it was similar to what happened to OU Friday night as well.
OU didn’t get shu tout, but it only had five hits Saturday — none for extra bases and only one with the chance to bring in a run.
The Tigers (57-9) effectively countered OU’s Dillon Overton (9-3). The left-hander took the loss. He held the Tigers to three earned runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.
It wasn’t a matter of the Tigers lighting up Overton. He fought an uphill battle from the third inning on. The Sooners committed four errors — matching a season high — with three coming in the third inning.
LSU didn’t need the extra aid.
JaCoby Jones went 4 for 4 and drove in two runs and Ty Ross went 2 for 4 with three RBIs to power the Tigers.
Designated hitter Colt Bickerstaff went 2 for 3. He was the only Sooner with more than one hit.
“When we scored early, we felt like we were gonna be able to keep scoring. We were getting men in scoring position,” OU coach Sunny Golloway said. “We were a hit away from getting into their bullpen. We just couldn’t get the hits when we needed them.”
The only reason OU got into LSU’s bullpen was a 50-minute weather delay between the fourth and fifth innings.
Will LaMarche (3-0) took over for starter Ryan Eades after the delay. LaMarche only threw 1 2/3 innings but he didn’t allow a run.
Overton tried to battle through after the break. It was an outing that was typical of Overton’s second half of the season. He didn’t give up a lot of hard hit balls, but he didn’t get the outs he had to get.
“They’re a very good hitting ballclub — one of the best I’ve faced all year,” Overton said. “They’re good at sticking in there and getting two-strike hits. Some days you struggle getting them out and that was the case tonight.”
OU’s bullpen was smacked around a like a pinata. Kyle Hayes, Jake Fisher, Jacob Evans, Kindle Ladd and Adam Choplick all gave up at least one run each over the final 3 1/3 innings.
In the grand scheme, what LSU did in the final innings was meaningless. It had already worn OU down much earlier.
“We had a chance; we just needed a key hit here or there, but that’s baseball,” Golloway said.