FINAL: LSU 7, Alabama 1
Tigers pull away late to trounce Tide
For nearly 24 hours (and all offseason, really), the LSU baseball team was reminded of the fact that they were shut out for the final 22 innings last season at Tuscaloosa.
The losses practically knocked LSU out of the chase for an NCAA Tournament berth (although they didn’t know it yet).
Saturday night, the Tigers were determined to make sure it wouldn’t happen again, and they did so by responding with a pair of runs in the first inning.
Raph Rhymes singled Hanover home. Then Ty Ross sent Rhymes home on a swinging bunt in the infield.
“I pitched batting practice to [Rhymes before the game]. I could tell that they were more lighting to his bat and he had better bat speed than he had even yesterday,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “I expected him to have a good game tonight, and he didn’t disappoint.”
Rhymes was given a pie to the face by Tyler Hanover during CST’s postgame live television interview for his efforts.
LSU wouldn’t score again until a Tyler Moore RBI single in the sixth inning, but those runs were all the Tigers needed as starting pitcher Ryan Eades was dominant until he tired in the eighth after 116 pitches. He struck out five batters, and the sophomore from Slidell baffled Alabama bats, surrendering next to nothing but weak ground balls and weak pop ups. He had four 1-2-3 innings in his 7.1 of work and retired 10 straight in the middle innings.
He gave up just two hits and one earned run, and he worked around four walks. The Tide didn’t get their first base knock on him until the fourth inning.
“His fastball had some extra life on it tonight,” said his catcher, Ross. “He made clutch pitches in clutch counts. If he walked a guy, he’d come right back and get the nest guy. The guy’s a workhorse.”
Following Eades’ two walks in the eighth, Brent Bonvillain came on in relief and allowed one run to cross the plate, forcing the three batters he faces to go 0-for-3 against him (even though Taylor Dugas reached on a botched fielder’s choice by JaCoby Jones).
Nick Goody pitched a flawless ninth to clinch the Tiger victory and the series for LSU.
Alabama had just two hits all night long.
It’s a good thing Tiger pitching was so dominant tonight, because Alabama starting pitcher Justin Kamplain was almost as strong as Eades on the mound. The Alabama lefty allowed the aforementioned two runs in the first inning, but he settled down to allow just one more in seven innings of work.
However, Charley Sullivan took over in the eighth, and the tigers rocked him for four runs to put the game away. Nola, Ross and Fields had RBIs in the inning, and Ross’ knock was drove in two on a triple, the first three-bagger of his career.
“Once [Ross] got into a hole 0-2, it shows a lot of character that he stayed in there, didn’t give up and went the opposite field there,” Mainieri said.
Ross was 2-for-4 with three RBIs tonight.
Rhymes (3-for-4, one RBI) and Fields (2-for-3, one RBI) also stood out for LSU at the plate tonight.
The Bayou Bengals will go for the sweep at noon tomorrow. Aaron Nola will take on Jon Keller on the mound.
LSU: 7 runs, 11 hits, 1 error
Bama: 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors
Due to excessive background noise, here are some of LSU head coach Paul Mainieri’s best quotes.
“He was unbelievable. I thought he was absolutely outstanding in every way. Obviously, the key to the game… He certainly set the tone for the game. I’m kinda mad at myself. I should have taken him out one batter earlier. He struck that kid out and just exhausted himself doing it [in the eighth].”
-On Ryan Eades
“I pitched batting practice to him. I could tell that they were more lighting to his bat and he had better bat speed than he had even yesterday… I expected him to have a good game tonight and he didn’t disappoint.”
-On Raph Rhymes
“I’m really glad he got that last hit because he couldn’t get the bunt down. I wasn’t exactly happy with him. The second one I thought was going to be fair. It just barely rolled foul… Once he got into a hole 0-2, it shows a lot of character that he stayed in there, didn’t give up and went the opposite field there.”
-On Ty Ross’ at-bat in the eighth inning
“I can’t say enough about the way Arby Fields is playing. My goodness. If this is not the greatest story. The kid waited his turn. He got his chance, didn’t do well. Now he gets another chance and he’s playing with such an attitude it’s been captivating for everybody.”
-On Arby Fields
Below is Richard Fischer’s game blog in chronological order.
Welcome to Alex Box Stadium for Game Two between LSU and Alabama.
It’s another beautiful afternoon for baseball as LSU looks to clinch the series with Ryan Eades on the mound.
The sophomore from Slidell is 4-1 on the season and he will try to recover from his worst outing of the season last week at Florida when he went just three innings. Eades suffered from shoulder fatigue last week, but he should be just fine tonight.
His opponent will be freshman lefty Justin Kamplain. He is 1-2 with a 3.23 ERA so far this season. Look for LSU hitters to take pitches early in counts tonight as Kamplain has a whopping 23 walks in 39 innings this season.
He’ll have to face an LSU squad with Raph Rhymes back in the lineup, after he started at DH last night. Rhymes went 1-for-2 a day ago with a pair of RBIs.
However, it must be noted that LSU didn’t score after the fourth inning in last night’s 10-2 victory. Last year in Tuscaloosa, LSU stopped scoring after Friday night’s sixth inning and never scored again.
The Tigers will sure try to avoid that from happening two years in a row by going for runs early and often on the Tide tonight.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m., and the wind is blowing out towards left field.
Alabama (13-21, 4-9)
1. Taylor Dugas CF .346
2. Brett Booth C .240
3. Jared Reaves SS .326
4. Ben Moore RF .358
5. Josh Rosecrans DH .158
6. Jon Kelton 1B .215
7. Kenny Roberts 2B .194
8. James Tullidge 3B .314
9. Hunter Gregory LF .261
SP- Justin Kamplain LHP (1-2, 3.23ERA, 39IP, 31H, 21R, 14ER, 23BB, 32K, OPP BA- .225)
LSU (28-7, 9-4)
1. JaCoby Jones 2B .259
2. Tyler Hanover 3B .369
3. Mason Katz RF .352
4. Raph Rhymes DH .466
5. Austin Nola SS .304
6. Ty Ross C .327
7. Tyler Moore 1B .283
8. Arby Fields CF .216
9. Jared Foster LF .232
SP- Ryan Eades RHP (4-1, 2.70ERA, 50IP, 47H, 17R, 15ER, 9BB, 40K, OPP BA- .254)
Top of the First:
Eades’ first pitch is a high fastball for a ball at 6:37… He gets Dugas to roll out to Jones… Booth pops out to Ross behind the plate. Two down… Reaves pops out to Hanover, and Eades is on tonight… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 0, Alabama 0
Bottom of the First:
Jones takes strike three on a pitch he thought was ball four. One down… Hanover walks… Katz gets plunked on the shoulder… Rhymes doubles down the line to score Hanover. He’s a machine. Katz to third… Nola takes a four pitch walk to load ‘em up, and Kamplain is all over the place just like I predicted… Ross gets the run home on a swinging bunt. He’s out at first and the other two runners move up… Tyler Moore takes strike three on the outside edge… Two runs. One hit. No errors. Two left on base (3rd base, 2nd base)… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Top of the Second:
Ben Moore walks… Rosecrans takes strike three, but Ben Moore swipes second on the play. One down… Ben Moore goes to third on a wild pitch… Kelton walks on a full count… WOW! Eades makes a tremendous diving catch on a Roberts bunt attempt. He doubles Kelton off of first and the side is retired… No runs. No hits. No errors. Two left on base (3rd base, 1st base)… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Bottom of the Second:
Fields singles to left to begin the second. It’ll be tough to get him out of the lineup… Foster pops up to second. One away… Jones rolls right up the middle for a tailor-made 6-3 double play… No runs. One hit. No errors. None left on base… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Top of the Third:
Tullidge tries to bunt his way on but is unsuccessful. One down… Gregory takes strike three on a great offspeed pitch, and he knew it. Two outs… Dugas bounces out to first… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Bottom of Third:
Hanover pops out to second… Katz pops out in fouls ground by first… Rhymes rolls out to second… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Top of the Fourth:
Booth fans… Reaves finds the gap between Nola and Hanover for a single… Ben Moore flies out to shallow left. Booth (not knowing if it will fall or not) has to scramble back to first, but Katz’s throw hits the sliding Booth on the leg and rolls into LSU’s dugout. Katz’s is charged with an error (that’s a tough one, but it needs to be charged), and Booth is told to go all the way to third… Rosecrans grounds out down the first base line and the side is retired… No runs. One hit. One error. One left on base (3rd base)… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Bottom of the Fourth:
Nola hits a can of corn to shallow left… Ross pops out to a retreating Kelton at first. Two down… Tyler Moore one-hops first… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Top of the Fifth:
Kelton flies out to Fields in center… Roberts doesn’t get much bat on the ball and he grounds out softly to Jones. Two down… Tullidge bounces out to third, and Eades is through five… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Bottom of the Fifth:
Fields singles to center for LSU’s third hit. He’s 2-for-2… Foster sac bunts Fields to second for the top of the order. One away… Jones lines out on a sinking liner to right. Two down… Hanover pops out in the infield… No runs. One hit. No errors. One left on base (2nd base)… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Top of the Sixth:
Gregory one-hops Jones for out No. 1… Dugas whiffs… Booth lines to left center, and Fields shows off his speed to track it down. He’ll be in the lineup the rest of this season, folks… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 2, Alabama 0
Bottom of the Sixth:
Katz two-hops third. One down… Rhymes reaches out and singles to center. That guy just doesn’t get bored hitting singles… Nola swings and misses. Two outs… Ross singles to left… Both runners advance on a wild pitch… Tyler Moore singles to right. Rhymes scores, and Javi Sanchez sends Ross around to try to score from second but he’s meat at home to end the inning… One run. Two hits. No errors. One left on base (1st base)… LSU 3, Alabama 0
Top of the Seventh:
Reaves grounds out to Nola… Ben Moore pops right at Jones. Two down… Rosecrans singles to left, breaking a streak of 10 straight Alabama hitters retired… Kelton rolls softly to Tyler Moore to end the side… No runs. One hit. No errors. One left on base (1st base)… LSU 3, Alabama 0
Bottom of the Seventh:
Fields grounds out to short… Foster flies out to left center. Two outs… Jones doubles down the left field line… Hanover one-hops short… No runs. One hit. No errors. One left on base (2nd base)… LSU 3, Alabama 0
Top of the Eighth:
Roberts walks… Tullidge takes called strike three on the outside edge on a 3-2 count. One down. That certainly would have been Eades’ final pitch had it been called a ball, but he continues… Gregory takes a four-pitch pass, and now Eades is done… Brent Bonvillain in to pitch… Bama sends the runners, and Dugas grounds to second. Jones makes the mistake of trying to get the out at second and all runners are safe…. Booth flies out to Fields in center to score Roberts and advance Gregory to third… Reaves flies out to center to vanquish the rally… One runs. No hits. No errors. Two left on base (3rd base, 1st base)… LSU 3, Alabama 1
Bottom of the Eighth:
Charley Sullivan the new pitcher for Bama… Katz walks… Rhymes singles again, sending Katz to third on the knock to right field… Nola singles to left to score Katz. Rhymes to second… Ross fails on a pair of sac bunt attempts before tripling to right center to clear the bases… With the infield in, Tyler Moore grounds out to second. One away… Fields flies out to right center to score Ross easily… Foster doubles to left… Jones fans… Four runs. Four hits. No errors. One left on base (2nd base)… LSU 7, Alabama 1
Top of the Ninth:
Nick Goody in to finish the game for LSU… Ben Moore whiffs… Rosecrans takes a backwards K. Two outs… Kelton flies out to Katz… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… Gametime: 2:24
Final: LSU 7, Alabama 1