Bad weather led to the postponement of two games on the first day of the NCAA Super Regionals, but the two that were played made up for it with plenty of drama on Friday night.
LSU scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to earn a 2-0 win against Oklahoma and pitcher Jonathan Gray, who a day earlier was taken third overall in the First-Year Player Draft by the Rockies. In the later game, UCLA plated a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to outlast Cal State Fullerton, 5-3.
The Tigers and Bruins both took 1-0 leads in their best-of-three series and will attempt to punch their tickets to Omaha, Neb., on Saturday for next weekend's College World Series.
Playing at home in the Baton Rouge Super Regional, LSU had to tangle with Gray, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound flamethrower, who entered the game with a 10-3 record, 1.64 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 126 1/3 innings. Gray struck out nine in this one and kept the Sooners in a scoreless tie into the eighth.
That's when he ran into trouble, giving up a one-out triple to second baseman JaCoby Jones, whom the Pirates selected in the Draft's third round earlier in the day. Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore followed with a go-ahead double, forcing Gray from the game. Mark Laird later added an RBI single off reliever Ralph Garza, and Gray finished with two earned runs allowed on five hits over 7 1/3 frames.
LSU starter Aaron Nola twirled a two-hit shutout, walking none and striking out six while throwing 77 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
At the Fullerton regional, visiting UCLA got a go-ahead RBI single from Eric Filia and a sacrifice fly from Pat Valaika to beat the Titans in 10 innings. Filia led the way with four hits, and Valaika -- a ninth-round pick by the Rockies -- drove in two.
Fullerton's Michael Lorenzen went 38th overall to the Reds as a pitcher, but went 2-for-5 as a center fielder in this one, smacking the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Catcher Chad Wallach and first baseman Carlos Lopez -- drafted by the Marlins in the fifth and 10th rounds, respectively -- both had two hits for the Titans.
Here are Friday's results and Saturday's schedule:
NCAA Baseball Championships
Baton Rouge Super Regional
LSU 2, Oklahoma 0
Oklahoma at LSU
Fullerton Super Regional
UCLA 5, Cal State Fullerton 3 (10 innings)
UCLA at Cal State Fullerton
Chapel Hill Super Regional
South Carolina at North Carolina
Raleigh Super Regional
Rice at North Carolina State
Nashville Super Regional
Louisville at Vanderbilt
Tallahassee Super Regional
Indiana at Florida State
Charlottesville Super Regional
Mississippi State at Virginia
Corvallis Super Regional
Kansas State at Oregon State