This team defies explanation. For the second straight night, they were dead to rights. This team wasn’t just dead, they were buried. The priest was out not giving last rites, but giving his homily over their graves.
I can’t even put this into words. LSU should be going home, and instead they are undefeated, and waiting for a team to crawl out of the loser’s bracket to play in the title game. How in the heck did this happen?!
There wasn’t much to say about this one for eight innings. USM staked itself out to a small lead, and kept extending it throughout the night, and LSU couldn’t catch up. Again, it looked like another depressing loss due to the slow bleed.
Baseball is a game that lends itself to analysis, even over-analysis. But the truth of the matter is, there is no defense for the home run, and Golden Eagles hit three of them to plate four runs. What? Are we supposed to say LSU should have called the anti-home run play? What would that be?
Further, Hurston Waldrep was absolutely dominant as USM’s starter. He pitched a hell of a game, striking out 11. This includes a late stretch in which he struck out six batters in a row, spanning from the fifth to the seventh innings. That was key, as it crushed any late inning rallies.
LSU didn’t have a chance until they chased him from the game, which happened in the seventh. His strikeout streak was finally broken, and the pitch count climbed past 115. It was time. It was a move USM had to make, but it was the move which gave LSU hope, as Waldrep was absolutely dominant.
We could spend our time gnashing our teeth about replay. And yes, replay sucks. But its part of the game. Jacob Berry had a hit by pitch turn into a strikeout due to replay on video evidence that was anything but conclusive. With a runner on second and two outs in the seventh, the strikeout most certainly played.
It seemed like LSU’s best chance passed it by in the eighth inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs… and got zero runs. Down four runs, that was the time to put a dent into the lead to make the ninth inning manageable. Again, it seemed like the kind of wasted chance that would come back to haunt the Tigers.
In an odd way, it did.
LSU finally found a way to make it a game in the ninth, thanks to two home runs. LSU cut the lead to one, and Tre Morgan got the potential game-tying run aboard thanks to a hit by pitch… this one held up by review. He was hit on an 0-2 count.
Down to its final strike again, Jordan Thompson drove the pinch runner in on a full count. And the Cardiac Cats were at it again. Just like that, LSU turned another near certain loss into another mythic comeback.
However, the thing about comebacks is that you have to finish the job. No one gets misty eyed about the time you came back to tie the game, only to still lose in extra innings. So this team had to complete the drill.
Paul Gervase mowed down USM in the top of the tenth, giving a team a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning. And again, the team came through. The Tigers loaded the bases, as USM decided it was a good idea to semi-intentionally walk Dylan Crews in order to pitch to Jacob Berry.
Look, that’s certainly a decision, and the kind of bad idea that loses teams ballgames, but in this case… it sort of worked. Jacob Berry hit a ground ball through the middle, but thanks to the shift, they were able to get the out at the plate.
They would not have the same luck with Josh Pearson, who grounded it hard in front of the plate, allowing the run to score. And LSU walked it off again. LSU now has somehow won two games in which they were down in the eighth inning by a combined eleven runs.
This makes no sense. Let’s just enjoy the f’n ride. Are you not entertained?!