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LSU Uses Timely Hits to Defeat
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. – Both teams had 14 hits, but
LSU had the big hits.
The biggest blow was a three-run homer by Sean
Ochinko (left) in the bottom of the fifth that put the Tigers on
top to stay as third-seeded LSU defeated Virginia 9-5 in front
of 24,904 fans at the College World Series at Rosenblatt
Virginia (48-14-1) will face second-seeded Cal
State Fullerton at 1 p.m. CT Monday in an elimination game. LSU
(52-16) will play SEC-rival Arkansas at 6 p.m. Monday.
Both Virginia and LSU scored in four different
innings, but three of those were single runs for the Cavaliers
and three were crooked numbers for the Tigers. After LSU got one
in the first and two in the third, Ochinko’s eighth dinger put
the Tigers on top 6-4. Ochinko had struck out in each of his
first two at-bats before going deep in his third.
“It feels good to help the team,” Ochinko said,
“to drive in big runs.”
Ryan Schimpf (2 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI) had a two-run
blast in a three-run eighth, his 20th, as LSU went ahead 9-5.
“I was just going up there, being aggressive on
the first pitch,” Schimpf said. “I believe it was a changeup and
he left it up and I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on
it. It was a good team effort tonight.”
The Cavs had taken the lead in the top of the
fifth as Steven Proscia (right) hit a one-out homer, his 10th, and Keith
Werman had an RBI single to give UVa a 4-3 advantage.
Virginia, which left 14 on base, pulled to within
one in the seventh on a Franco Valdes dinger, his sixth, to make
“It was a great college baseball game all the way
up to the eighth inning,” UVa head coach Brian O’Connor said.
“We were very, very aggressive and played a good baseball game.”
Both starting pitchers were knocked out early.
Anthony Ranaudo of LSU went 3.1 innings with five hits, two
earned runs, four walks and three strikeouts. Danny Hultzen of
Virginia worked three innings with seven hits, three earned
runs, one walk and five strikeouts.
“I can’t remember the last time we’ve had a
starting pitcher not make it through four innings,” LSU head
coach Paul Mainieri said. “It was really pretty amazing for us
that were able to piece it together in the middle innings there
with our bullpen. Our defense kept us in the game, made some
great plays, to keep Virginia from scoring some runs. And then
our offense came to life.”
Austin Ross (6-7) earned the win in relief for
the Tigers, allowed four hits and one run in two innings with no
walks and two punchouts. LSU notched its 11th straight victory.
Micah Gibbs (3 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBI), Mikie Mahtook
(3 for 4, 1 R) and DJ LeMahieu (3 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI) each had
three hits for LSU.
Werman went 4 for 5 with one run and one RBI for
the Cavs. Valdes (3 for 5, 2 RBI) and Tyler Cannon (3 for 4, 2
R) both had three hits for Virginia.
The nine runs was the most allowed by the
Cavaliers in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and the highest total
since losing 9-8 at Virginia Tech on May 15.
“When you play a team like LSU, if you don’t make
the pitches that you need to make in the clutch, they’re going
to burn you,” O’Connor said. “That’s what makes them a real good
offensive club. Those are the pitches that we’ve made the last
two weeks to get to this point and we didn’t make them tonight.”
(photo courtesy of LSU Media