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LSU 3 - Baylor 2: 10 Innings

LSU out-played, out-pitched, and out-hit the Baylor Bears, thanks to a spectacular performance from Anthony Ranaudo, who went 9 full innings giving up 3 hits and striking out 14.  LSU threatened all night, getting 9 hits and 8 walks but could never get the big hit with runners on.

Baylor threw a variety of pitchers, using 3 different pitchers each for several innings in the 10 inning game.  They started with a righty, then went to their only good lefty, and then to their ace pitcher, Kendal Volz.  All kept us off balance, though all gave up base runners.

LSU's offensive woes were primarily the result of poor hitting at the top of the order.  Landry, Schimpf, and Dean were a combined 0-for-13 with 7 strikeouts.  Leon Landry grounded to second base three times.  Ryan Schimpf struck out 4 times.  The three combined for 4 walks, but 0 RBI and 0 runs scored.

The heroes were more towards the middle and back of the order.  Jared Mitchell had a nice night at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a solo home run in the second inning, two walks, two stolen bases, and he scored the game winning run in the 10th inning.  

Micah Gibbs scored LSU's second run after LSU loaded the bases with no one out in the 4th.  LSU did not get a hit, but drove in Gibbs with a fielder's choice.  Mitchell was then picked off of second base and Hanover grounded out to end the threat.  It was one of many missed opportunities.  We will not recount them all.

Baylor got its own home run in the 6th to cut LSU's lead to 2-1, then manufactured a run in the 8th to tie it up.  While LSU could never break through against the Baylor pitchers, Baylor rarely even threatened Ranaudo.  

The heroics in the 10th came courtesy of a walk to Mitchell followed by a walk to Lemahieu.  In a curious decision I don't understand, Mainieri decided to lift Hanover in favor of a pinch hitter, Sean Ochinko.  It would have made sense to me to pinch hit Jones in that situation, as Jones is a lefty going against the right-handed pitcher, but Ochinko is a righty and despite starting the season incredibly hot, I'm not sure Ochinko is any better of a hitter than Hanover is.

Anyway, Ochinko hit a grounder behind the bag at second that the shortstop couldn't get flipped to second and all runners advanced, giving us bases loaded with one out and Nola up.  After pinch hitting for Hanover, Mainieri decided to leave Nola in to hit, which is another curious decision.  Nola came through with a liner that the 2nd baseman dove for and almost caught, but it trickled into center.  Mitchell scored the go-ahead run from third, but Lemahieu couldn't score from second because he had to hesitate to make sure the ball wasn't caught.

Landry and Schimpf then ended the inning with a pop up and a strikeout respectively.  Ott came in and closed out the game against the bottom of the Baylor order, who did not get a runner on base in the bottom of the 10th.

Baylor and Minnesota play the early game tomorrow, and the winner faces LSU in the nightcap hoping to force a deciding Monday game.  Baylor is out of pitching, as they have thrown, and used up, each one of the top 5 pitchers (as measured by innings pitched).  Baylor has been better than advertised in this regional, but they have completely used up their best pitchers.  Throwing Volz tonight was a mistake, in my opinion, because it put them in a position where even if they had won it would have been tough to finish out the series.  Now they're in a nearly impossible situation unless they can find some pitching far down their roster.

Minnesota survived a scare from Southern, and their pitching situation is much better right now.  I anticipate playing Minnesota tomorrow.