LSU Punches World Series Ticket with Win over Cajuns
The LSU Tigers will be going to Omaha for the College World Series for the 17th time in school history and the second time in three years after a 6-3 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in Game 2 of the Baton Rouge Super Regional.
LSU Baseball Report/Bill Franques
LSU EARNS 17TH TRIP TO COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
BATON ROUGE -- With an NCAA Super Regional sweep, No. 2 national seed LSU (53-10) earned its 17th trip to the College World Series on Sunday, beating Louisiana-Lafayette, 6-3, at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
After helping the Tigers advance to the Super Regional with a 2-0 blanking of UNC Wilmington Monday, LSU starter Jared Poche' (9-1) pitched another gem for the Tigers. He allowed only one run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
For its opening game in Omaha, the Tigers will face either No. 7-seed TCU or Texas A&M on Sunday at either 2 or 7 p.m. CT.
“This team deserves to go to Omaha,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “They've played at a high level all year. We haven't lost two games in a row one time the entire season. Different aspects of our team have done the job, taken turns doing the job, and it's a very selfless team that plays well together. They genuinely like each other, and I couldn't be more proud of a team going to Omaha. That's where we belong, and we're looking forward to going up there.”
With 12 zeros posted to open the game, LSU catcher Kade Scivicque quite literally put the first run on the board in the top of the seventh with a no-doubt solo home run off the scoreboard in left field.
LSU led 1-0, as Poche' finished seven innings allowing only three hits of his own.
“It's definitely a dream for all these Louisiana boys that come and play at LSU,” said Poche’, a native of Lutcher, La. “I'm just kind of living in the moment right now and enjoying it.”
“Jared Poché is one of those pitchers that when you give him a lead, he shifts it into another gear,” Mainieri said. “There's an extra competitive juice running through his veins, and he gets that lead and he just smells the victory, and that's when he's at his best, and he's done that so many times in his career.
“Once we got that lead, I knew as long as he wasn't tired from the humidity, which it was awfully hot out there, listen, he was still throwing the ball hard. His curveball still had a lot of bite to it, and I thought he could even possibly finish, but I thought when we took him out, it was the right time.”
The Tigers offense knocked ULL starter Gunner Leger (6-5) out of the game with two outs in the eighth. Leger walked Danny Zardon to open the frame, and Saturday night's hero - Chris Sciambra - entered to pinch run following a standing ovation.
Sciambra moved to second on a balk when Leger stepped toward home plate on his pickoff attempt. Though Jared Foster wasn't able to get down a sacrifice bunt, Mark Laird singled and both runners moved up a base on a high chopper by Jake Fraley.
Bregman, who struggled to an 0-for-15 start in the NCAA Tournament, broke out of his slump by chopping an 0-1 pitch over Leger's head to score both Sciambra and Laird.
“It was unbelievable,” Bregman said. “The ‘Box’ was rocking after it. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to go to the middle, and I ended up just the same way I came in, base hit up the middle, RBI single, and what I wanted to do, not any other way.”
The Tigers led 3-0 when Leger headed to the dugout in favor of righthander Dylan Moore. With two outs, Bregman immediately stole second, moving into second place on LSU's single-season list with 37. After Scivicque walked, Conner Hale hit a bases-clearing triple into the right field corner to give LSU a 5-0 lead.
To open the home half of the eighth, ULL's Dylan Bulter doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a single by Joe Robbins. With runners on first and third, Poche' coaxed a ground ball to Hale at third. However, Hale had to wait to make the throw and second baseman Grayson Byrd's relay to first was late, allowing Butler to cut the deficit to 5-1.
With two outs, Poche' was lifted for Russell Reynolds, who too was pulled after walking the only batter he faced. Lefty Zac Person earned the final out of the eighth.
LSU added an insurance run in the top of the ninth against ULL's Greg Milhorn. With one out, Sciambra walked, stole second and advanced to third on a pop-up by Byrd. Laird's single to right field drove in Sciambra to give LSU a 6-1 lead.
ULL scored twice off Person in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI triple by pinch hitter Kennon Fontenot and a sacrifice fly by Butler. However, a pop-up to LSU's Chris Chinea at first base sent the Tigers sprinting to the outfield for their own version of a dogpile.