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LSU Embarrassed By Errors, Beaten Down By Beavers

Monday night got ugly for LSU.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-LSU vs Oregon State Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State (56-4) dominated LSU (49-18) 13-1 on the back of a cacophony of LSU errors and mistakes to put LSU into the loser’s bracket of the College World Series. It was by far LSU’s worst performance not only of the year but in recent memory and it came in a time where they absolutely could not afford it.

“It wasn't what we expected or hoped for, obviously,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “A heck of a way for a 17-game winning streak to end. But just right from the start things didn't go well for us.”

The Beavers opened the game on a fast note as Steven Kwan laid down a first pitch bunt on the first base side, but nobody was covering first. This was a real lapse in focus for LSU as Kwan’s tendency for bunting has been one of the worst kept secrets in Omaha. Kwan advanced to second on a ground out and then promptly scored when Trevor Larnach fisted a fastball high back up the middle. Fortunately for LSU a 5-4-3 double play bailed the Tigers out of the inning before any further damage was done.

Four pitches into the third inning, disaster struck for LSU. After a pitch Eric Walker stepped behind the mound and looked to the dugout and was instantly pulled. After not pitching in the Super Regionals, Walker threw a simulated game where he developed forearm tightness in his arm and in the third inning it re-appeared and put Walker in enough discomfort to pull himself from the game. Before the game was even decide this put LSU at a significant disadvantage having to tap into the bullpen so early and if Walker is out indefinitely then LSU is placed in dire straits for the remainder of their time in Omaha.

“He had gone through a bunch of rehab and threw a couple of side sessions and felt great, felt 100 percent,” Mainieri said. “His warm-ups today in the bullpen were great. His first two innings were great. And then on the third pitch of his warm-ups for the third inning, he just felt it tighten up again. And so obviously we had to take him out. We don't think it's anything serious. I think it's just a fatigued muscle. He's pitched more innings this year than he ever has, and I think he's running a little bit dry.”

Gilbert came in and pitched valiantly but ran out of gas after 2.2 innings when Michael Gretler reached base on an error by Kramer Robertson, who let a routine ground ball eat him up. Nick Madrigal singled Gretler to third and advanced to second when Zach Watson airmailed the throw from center field. Those two errors came home to roost when Nick Bush, who came in with the bases loaded, gave up a single to Larnach to push the Beavers ahead 3-0.

“They're definitely a scrappy offense,” Gilbert said. “I thought I was making some good pitches. They would just foul it off, and have to go right back at it, do it again. Getting me deep in counts as far as running up my pitch count a little bit. And just couldn't get that put away when it was crunch time.”

After Gilbert was done, then the game got really ugly.

Bush and Peterson walked the bases full for Madrigal, who grounded to Peterson with the force on every base. But Peterson didn’t field the ball cleanly and couldn’t get the out at home, instead opting for the easy out at first while the run scored. Newman came in for Peterson and promptly walked yet another batter before giving up a grand slam to put the game out of reach, the first grand slam during the College World Series’ tenure in TD Ameritrade.

The 8-0 lead for Oregon State would be short lived, as two walks and a hit by pitch in the seventh inning lead to three more runs off of a sac fly from Cadyn Grenier and a two run double from Madrigal. LSU allowed 12 walks on the night and those walks directly contributed to Oregon State’s 13 runs on 11 hits.

“You give a lot of credit to Oregon State. They've got an excellent ballclub,” Mainieri conceded. “Well coached. Every mistake we made, they took advantage of it. And they just are a very sound fundamental team. I think we are too, we just didn't look like it tonight.”

On the flip side of the coin, Bryce Fehmel made sure there was no coming back. He threw eighth innings for Oregon State and only allowed one run on two hits while walking three and striking out just as many. He absolutely dominated the Tigers and even if they didn’t give the game away themselves, Fehmel probably would have put LSU away by himself. But he had all the room in the world to cruise as Oregon State ripped LSU to shreds offensively.

LSU eliminated the shutout with a solo home run from Zach Watson, but Oregon State added two more runs in the top of the eighth with a walk to Tyler Malone and a double from Gretler setting up for two RBIs from Grenier for the 13-1 final.

LSU will try to bounce back and keep their season alive Wednesday night when they face Florida State in an elimination game at 7:00 on ESPN. Jared Poche’ will start that game for LSU and eat as many innings as possible and if LSU is to win then Alex Lange will pitch Friday’s potential re-match with the Beavers.

“So it was a difficult night for the Tigers, but we still have breath and we'll bounce back on Wednesday,” Mainieri said. “One game at a time from this point on. Didn't Coastal (Carolina) lose a game early last year and came back? So it's been done before. It's not the easiest route. But fortunately there's some days off that allow your pitching staff to recover a little bit. And we're going to face a tough ball team on Wednesday in Florida State.”