Work prevented me from actually watching the game yesterday, but I enjoy the win nonetheless
Austin Ross gave up 2 runs in the first 3 pitches of the game, but then settled down and cruised through 6.2 innings without letting up another run. He struck out 10 and walked only 1, scattering 7 hits. Meanwhile, LSU hitters couldn't get anything going on Southern's lefty pitcher Chase Richard. LSU had a runner on every inning except the 5th before finally breaking through in the 6th when Ryan Shimpf hit a double, then stole 3rd and scored on a throwing error. The batters really came alive in the 7th.
Ochinko led off the inning with a single and was lifted for Chris McGhee, who came in to pinch run. McGhee advanced on a bunt (arrrggh!) and then scored on a big two-out hit by Austin Nola. With the game tied at 2-2, Southern ditched their lefty and went to the bullpen. The rout was on.
The next 6 batters all reached base, with 5 hits and a fielding error. Lemahieu, Schimpf, and Dean all singled to bring home Nola and Lemahieu. Then Gibbs reached on an error that scored Schimpf and Dean. Mahtook was hit by a pitch and Helenihi (hitting in the spot previously occupied by Ochinko and McGhee) hit a double that brought in Gibbs and Mahtook. We scored 7 runs in the inning before Helenihi was thrown out trying to take 3rd base. All runs were scored with 2 outs.
We added two more in the 8th inning as Hanover, Mitchell and Lemahieu all got hits, including a triple for Hanover. After Lemahieu brought Mitchell home, the bench for LSU cleared.
Ross pitched very well, allowing only the 2 runs that scored in the first inning. Unfortunately, he wasn't around long enough to see the offensive explosion in the 7th, so he does not get the win. That honor goes to Paul Bertuccini, who got us out of a threat in the 7th and pitched a perfect 8th inning as well. Buzzy Haydel closed out the 9th.
LSU will take on Baylor today at 6:00pm. Baylor beat Minnesota 5-0 as their pitchers Willie Kempf, Craig Fritch, and Logan Verrett combined to throw a 5-hitter. In the parts I saw, Minnesota never threatened.
Curiously, Baylor did not throw their best pitcher Kendal Volz, who leads Baylor with 83 innings pitched. The second most active pitcher in Baylor's lineup pitched only 58 innings. One would think they were saving Volz for the second game, but Volz is a righty, and Baylor has a left-handed starter out there in Aaron Miller. He's not as good as Volz, who admittedly doesn't really look like an ace with a 4.5 ERA and a .280 opponents batting average.
Baylor would be smart to use Miller against us and save Volz. Either way though, at some point someone is going to have to beat us with a right handed pitcher or with a little-used lefty. Minnesota does not have a lefty that they've used extensively this year, and Baylor has only Miller. Even if Miller beats us tomorrow, we'll be going against righties the rest of the tournament, and I like our chances with that.