You turned it off, didn’t you? Admit it. It was hopeless. There was no chance. LSU had lost this one.
Early on, it looked like it was gonna be one of those games in which both offenses threw haymakers at one another until the last team up finally won in the ninth. Then it turned into a depressing blowout loss which would be a referendum on the Jay Johnson era so far.
And then it turned into one of the greatest comebacks in LSU postseason history. Nervousness to depression to ecstasy. I can’t do a whole month of this, y’all.
A disastrous relief outing from Riley Cooper and a couple of crooked numbers thrown up on the scoreboard by Kennesaw State’s offense early on, to which LSU was completely unable to respond, turned this into a laugher by the fourth inning. And let’s be honest, I started checking in on other games. This one was over.
LSU fell behind by 7 runs, and teams don’t come back from that. They simply don’t. A slugfest turned into a blowout loss, and LSU fans were already looking dejected and thinking about Army. How did we get there? How did this season go awry?
Both starting pitchers struggled, and when John Bezdicek loaded the bases with two outs in the second, KSU did not hesitate: they didn’t just go to the pen, they brought in another starter. They were all in, right away. Jack Myers loaded the count, but he got Jordan Thompson swinging, and limited the damage to a 2-1 game.
Ma’Khail Hilliard wasn’t really pitching all that poorly, but he was betrayed by some defensive decision in which his outfielders took some, let’s call it creative, routes to the ball. He was pulled with two outs and Johnson went to the pen.
Riley Cooper came into the game and proceeded to light things on fire. Cooper gave up another run immediately before a hard line out got him out of the inning. It was an escape, but he looked like a guy who didn’t have his stuff. When Jobert hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to one, Johnson made the decision to stick with his guy.
It was the wrong one.
Cooper immediately gave the runs back on a two-run bomb. Yeah, it barely snuck over the wall, and that was the only damage, but after LSU had crawled back to within one, it was a devastating letdown. The game went from 5-4 to 7-4, which has a totally different feel.
And then came the 4th inning. Cooper got the first two outs with ease, and allowed a one-out single. No big deal, right? Then came the parade of horribles: Double, passed ball, walk, single. It was here Johnson went to the pen, LSU down by 5 runs, but no help came. Another double allowed to clear the based and there it was, LSU was down 11-4.
It was over except for the crying. Riley was cruising and LSU could not respond or get anything going. And then, after four innings of scoreless baseball from the LSU offense, suddenly and out of nowhere, the LSU bats came alive.
The things about this LSU team is that it has hitters up and down the lineup who can hurt you. Give the enough chances, they will. They finally did in the 8th inning, and turned the game completely on its head.
Everyone hit. What else can you say? There was no one hero, no one at bat, no one play. Just a relentless bludgeoning of the Kennesaw State staff. LSU erased an 11-4 deficit and took a 14-11 lead. 10 runs in one inning to comeback from a game that seemed utterly, hopelessly lost.
I don’t even know what to say. It was a clutch performance from every single guy on the roster. Pick your hero. Heck, give some love to Devin Fontenot, who limited the damage until the bats decided to wake up.
This game was lost. And then LSU won it. Ten runs in one inning, and they needed every single one of them. Is this the game which launches a postseason run? Who knows? But let’s enjoy this one tonight.