OKLAHOMA CITY — For the second straight day, sophomore pitcher Kyle Gibson was called on to close a victory for the Missouri baseball team with his team leading by a run.
Gibson could not hold his team’s slim lead, though, and the Tigers fell 4-3 to Oklahoma on Thursday night at the Big 12 Conference tournament at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
Right fielder Jamie Johnson won the game for the Sooners with a two-RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Earlier in the inning, second baseman Greg Folgia committed the fourth Tigers error of the game on what should have been the second out of the inning. That runner came around to score the winning run. The four errors resulted in two unearned runs for Oklahoma.
Had the Tigers held on to beat Oklahoma they would have secured a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
To start the game, Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson put the ball in the hands of his ace, Aaron Crow.
Crow pitched seven innings, giving up one earned run. Thursday marked the ninth time in 14 starts the junior has pitched that many innings. In his final inning, Oklahoma had runners on first and second with no outs, but Crow retired the next three batters in order to end the threat.
Crow, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, got Aljay Davis, a member of the All-Big 12 first team, to pop out to second base to end the inning.
The Tigers took the field in the bottom of the first inning with a lead thanks to Jacob Priday, Missouri’s one-man offense against Oklahoma. The senior drove in all three Tiger runs Thursday, knocking in single runners in the first, third and fifth innings.
The loss to Oklahoma means Missouri will need help to qualify for Sunday’s championship game. First the Tigers need Oklahoma to fall to Texas, who defeated Texas A&M in the only other tournament game on Thursday, creating a tie between all three teams with a 2-1 record. Missouri must then win its final pool play game against top-seeded Texas A&M at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Tigers would then advance to the championship game because it is the highest seed of the three teams.
Finishing the Big 12 schedule for the 12th year without a title would extend Missouri’s title drought in the conference.
The school has won just two overall Big 12 titles since the conference’s inception.
The softball team won both the regular-season and tournament titles in 1997, the conference’s inaugural year. Last year, the football team won the Big 12 North division title, but fell in the conference championship to Oklahoma.
The baseball team has finished second twice. In 2004, the Tigers played for the tournament championship but lost to Oklahoma State 10-9 in 13 innings and they finished second in the regular-season standings last season.
The team last won a conference title in 1980 when it captured the Big Eight Conference championship under coach Gene McArtor.