June 13, 2009

Game 2 Notes

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LSU Uses Timely Hits to Defeat Virginia

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

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 Stadium.


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 6-5.


“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 Relations Office)