The strangest things happen in Hoover to LSU. After 17 inning marathons and walk off wild pitches, the baseball gods decided that the last remaining scraps of LSU’s pitching staff were going to beat a man who turned down $3 Million+ from professional baseball last summer.
LSU had to start Senior Clay Moffitt, who in spare usage this season carried a 2.65 ERA in only 17 innings of work. State started Freshman JT Ginn, a weekend starter with 8 wins and 75 innings under his belt. The two dueled to a stalemate until the 3rd inning, when the Tigers became a patient station to station scoring machine. There were no loud runs, just relentless contact hitting. LSU scored 5 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, which included a run scored on a throwing error on a ground ball to third base and a bases loaded walk. The Tigers had chased a 3rd round pick and the SEC Freshman of the Year from the mound after 2.1 IP.
State didn’t die immediately, however. Back-to-back walks with 1 out forced Moffitt from the game in the bottom of the inning and State would score 2 RBI singles to chip back into the game.
But then LSU slammed the door hard. In the 4th, LSU loaded the bases with 1 out and scored a run on a Bianco sac fly. The next five LSU batters all scored at least 1 run as the Bulldogs burned through 4 pitchers and still could not contain LSU. The Tigers scored 7 runs on 6 hits and activated the Tournament’s run rule condition. All they needed to do was hold the 10 run lead through the 7th and the game would end early.
Aaron George and Chase Costello were up to the task. Two little used relief arms who, up until this point, were midweek inning eaters, stood toe to toe with the #3 team in the country and didn’t blink. Over the final four innings they only allowed 3 hits and 1 walk and the defense efficiently backed them up, sending State home 2 innings early.
The astounding win has elevated LSU’s first round hosting chances from a maybe into a veritable lock from the many pundits who predict that sort of thing. LSU went to Hoover with that goal in mind and accomplished it before the weekend even started. LSU is now in the semi-final round of the SEC tournament for the 7th straight year and it’s all lagniappe from here.
Which is good, because LSU is down to testing out position players on the mound. LSU will face Vandy in the mid afternoon game tomorrow and Mainieri will have to scrape something together. Devin Fontenot seems like the only arm who might have some gas left, but with hosting secured, there’s no reason to risk damaging the already frail staff. I suspect we’ll find a new Todd Peterson tomorrow (though not actual Todd Peterson, who has already been ruled out of any more appearances this weekend) and a new legend of Hoover will be born