June 9, 2008

2008 Super Regionals

LSU Lives Another Day

Tigers rally for five in ninth to top Anteaters


By Robert Stewart

The Daily Reveille

Robert Stewart is a freshman sports writer for the Daily Reveille at LSU. He has worked for the Daily Reveille since January 2008 and has covered baseball, softball and track and field. A native of Baton Rouge, Robert is currently majoring in journalism at LSU.

BATON ROUGE, La. - Facing yet another late-inning deficit, LSU scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning Sunday to beat UC Irvine 9-7 at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU has tied the Baton Rouge Super Regional, 1-1. The Anteaters and Tigers square off Monday at 6 p.m.

LSU sophomore center fielder Leon Landry started the rally in the ninth with a leadoff walk. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Schimpf hit a double to right field to advance Landry to third.

LSU senior third baseman Michael Hollander beat out a throw by UC Irvine junior shortstop Ben Orloff to load the bases. LSU sophomore Jared Mitchell followed with a walk, cutting UC Irvine’s lead to 7-5.

After a pinch-hit RBI single by Tigers junior Nicholas Pontiff, sophomore designated hitter Blake Dean followed with another RBI single to tie the game. LSU sophomore catcher Sean Ochinko hit an RBI double, and freshman shortstop DJ LeMahieu drove in the final two runs in the inning to make it 9-7.

“I don’t really think anybody in college baseball thinks it’s over when there are still six outs left,” UC Irvine coach Mike Gillispie said.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Mitchell made a diving catch into the left-field wall to rob UC Irvine freshman Tyler Hoechlin of an extra-base hit.

Mitchell matched the efforts of Landry, who made a diving catch in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“They [Landry and Mitchell] ought to be making those catches,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “They’re probably the two best athletes playing in the outfield in college baseball.”

Mitchell also sparked the Tigers with a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning to bring the score to 7-3.

“I got down to two strikes, and I told myself to try and stay inside the baseball and go the other way,” Mitchell said. “I hit the ball hard and luckily it carried out of the ballpark.”

UC Irvine exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, grabbing a 7-2 lead.

Anteaters junior designated hitter Brock Bardeen hit a solo home run to left to start the inning.

After a bunt by UC Irvine junior third baseman Eric Deragisch scored junior left fielder Tony Asaro, senior catcher Aaron Lowenstein followed with a two-run single to take a 5-2 lead.

Junior center fielder Ollie Linton and Orloff followed with back-to-back RBI hits, giving the Anteaters a five-run cushion.

LSU junior pitcher Louis Coleman picked up the win, relieving senior Jared Bradford in the seventh inning.

Coleman (7-0) threw three scoreless innings of work, surrendering only one hit.

UC Irvine sophomore reliever Eric Pettis (4-3) took the loss, giving up all five of LSU’s runs in the ninth.

“He [Pettis] just didn’t have his stuff,” Lowenstein said. “He’s been unreal for us all year [LSU] punished the mistakes that he made.”

Anteaters starter Daniel Bibona took a no-decision after scattering nine hits in 7.1 innings.

Tomorrow’s pitching matchup is expected to be LSU junior left-hander Blake Martin (5-3, 4.88 ERA) versus UC Irvine sophomore right-hander Bryce Stowell (8-2, 2.77 ERA).