FINAL: LSU 6, BYU 5
Tigers walk off with come-from-behind victory over the Cougars
Thrilling walk-off victories are nothing new to Alex Box Stadium.
Usually they send 7,000 fans or more to their feet.
Due to heavy rains in the hours leading up to the first pitch Thursday, LSU’s walk-off win may have only sent 1,833 fans to their feet (and that’s a generous count), but that didn’t make it any less meaningful.
The ninth-ranked Tigers trailed BYU 5-4 entering the last of the ninth inning, but LSU made the first bottom of the ninth in 2013 a memorable one with a pair of runs to walk off with a 6-5 victory and remain unbeaten.
Junior college transfer Christian Ibarra got the party started with a solo home run to tie the game.
“I was just looking for a fastball up and in because away pitches I can’t really get those and that’s exactly what I got,” he said.
Then, Chris Sciambra’s four-pitch walk was followed by other-way singles from Mark Laird and Alex Bregman to load the bases for Raph Rhymes. And the guy that every LSU fan would have wanted at the plate in that situation smacked a ball to the left-field warning track for the winning RBI single.
“We had great at-bats leading up to mine by everybody,” Rhymes touted. “I was just trying to square something up. I knew my team needed me, and it was an opportunity to do something so I took advantage of it.”
Leading up to the epic finish, Mason Katz blasted his first home run of the year in the second inning then JaCoby Jones kept his hot bat rolling with a two-RBI double in the third.
Bregman found a fortunate RBI in the seventh on a Texas Leaguer that was fair by inches. It scored one of Laird’s two runs in the contest as the freshman speedster went 4-for-5 tonight.
“Over the course of the first couple games, I was trying to settle in,” Laird explained. “I just felt like I had more confidence at the plate ,and I was selective on my pitches I swung at.”
The Tigers needed every bit of that offensive production because Aaron Nola wasn’t your typical Aaron Nola tonight. He lacked the control we’re used to seeing out of the right-hander as he set a career-high with three walks and if a stat were kept for number of ball ones thrown, he might have doubled or tripled his previous game high.
“I didn’t think Nola had great stuff and I didn’t think he had great command, but I think he was very gutty and courageous and fought his way through it and gave it six innings,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “But it was obvious he didn’t have great stuff tonight. He fell behind on more counts than I can ever remember him falling behind on, and he just didn’t have a lot of zip on his fastball.”
The sophomore explained after the game that he felt his struggles were due to coming forward too much on his wind up, causing him to leave balls high.
The Cougars put up a four-spot on Nola in the third inning with an Adam Law RBI single and a Jaycob Brugman three-run blast. But to Nola’s credit, he settled down after the dinger and only two of the final 12 batters he faced reached base. He allowed four hits and four runs with six strikeouts in six frames.
Will LaMarche then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh before allowing a seeing-eye single to start the eighth. When left-handed hitting Brugman came back up with one out, Mainieri made the switch to lefty Hunter Devall. The freshman didn’t get the job done as Brugman doubled home what was at the time the go-ahead run. Joey Bourgeois then relieved him and did a masterful job. He minimized the damage by stranding Brugman on the base paths and then struck out the side in the ninth. He finished with four K’s and a walk in 1.2 frames and picked up the win despite never pitching with the lead.
“If you want to be a championship team, you have to win games like this,” Mainieri said. “…You take these kinds of winds and they continue to build confidence in your team. I don’t think we played our best game, but we found a way to win, and that’s what’s important.”
The Tigers will hope tonight’s magic carries over to tomorrow where Ryan Eades will take on Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. The Lions will play the Cougars at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Box (free admission), but they’re saving their ace Jordan Hymel for nightcap.
LSU: 6 runs, 12 hits, 1 error
BYU: 5 runs, 6 hits, 1 error
Below is Richard Fischer’s chronological game blog.
Good afternoon and welcome to Alex Box Stadium for the first-ever matchup between LSU and BYU… hopefully.
The tarp is currently out over the infield, and Baton Rouge has seen its fair share of rain in the early afternoon. As of about 5 p.m., the rain persists, but the forecast (which you can see by clicking here) says we should have clear enough skies to get in a game tonight.
Scheduled first pitch time is 6:30 p.m., and no announcement of a change has been made yet.
If we can play ball, the undefeated Tigers will play host to LSU head coach Paul Mainieri’s old nemesis when he was at the Air Force Academy - the BYU Cougars.
The foes from the West Coat Conference split their first four games in Lubbock, Texas this past weekend. They split with Northern Colorado before beating Northern Illinois and losing to homestanding Texas Tech.
Righty Desmond Poulson will take the ball for the Cougars tonight. In his first start of the season last week, all he did was pitch a complete game shutout four hitter. He struck out 10 and walked two. Sure it was against Northern Colorado, but that’s impressive no matter who the opponent is. That means LSU better give its starter - Aaron Nola - more run support than it did last week in a 1-0 Tiger victory. The sophomore hurler was spot on in 6.2 frames versus Maryland with nine K’s and a lone base on balls.
Adam Law went 6-for-14 last weekend and leads the Cougars at the plate.
1. Jacob Hannemann LF .235
2. Hayden Nielsen SS .143
3. Adam Law 3B .429
4. Jaycob Brugman CF .308
5. Brock Whitney 1B .333
6. Kelton Caldwell .214
7. Dakota Hernandez C .200
8. Nate Favero DH .125
9. Brennon Anderson 2B .200
SP- Desmond Poulson RHP
1. Chris Sciambra CF .583
2. Mark Laird RF .133
3. Alex Bregman SS .333
4. Raph Rhymes LF .357
5. Mason Katz 1B .200
6. JaCoby Jones 2B .444
7. Tyler Moore DH .400
8. Ty Ross C .300
9. Christian Ibarra 3B .214
SP- Aaron Nola RHP
Top of the First:
Nola’s first pitch is a ball at 6:32. Stop the presses. After falling behind 2-0 for maybe the first time in his career, Nola evens the count and gets Hannemann to ground to second. However what should be an easy play is bobbled by Jones, and the runner is safe at first. Error on Jones… Nielson sac bunts Hannemann to second. One down… Nola falls behind Law as well and walks him. Not used to seeing Nola struggle with his control like this… Brugman is frozen on cheese at the knees. Two away… Hannemann steals third on a pitch in the dirt. Law stays put at first… Whitney grounds to Bregman up the middle. His range and Katz’s scoop at first on a low Bregman delivery save a run. Nola’s control was no where near what we’re used to seeing out of him. Let’s see if he improves… No runs. No hits. One error. Two left on base (first, third)… LSU 0, BYU 0
Bottom of the First:
Sciambra fans. One down… Laird punches a single to left… Bregman is rung up at the letters. Tiger faithful not happy with that one. Two gone… Rhymes grounds back to Poulson. Inning over… No runs. One hit. No errors. One left on base (first)… LSU 0, BYU 0
Top of the Second:
Nola blows Caldwell away on three pitches. That’s more like it. One out… First pitch to Hernandez results in a swinging bunt. Ross to first. Two down… Breaking ball gets Favero looking, and it’s an eight-pitch, seven-strike inning for Nola. He’s back on track… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… LSU 0, BYU 0
Bottom of the Second:
Katz crushes a wind-aided HR to left, and Poulson has given up his first run after 10 innings of work this season… Jones lines out to short. One away… Moore flies out to left. Two outs… Ross walks… Ibarra singles up the middle. Ross to second… Sciambra lines a one-hopper to first. Inning over… No runs. Two hits. No errors. Two left on base (first, second)… LSU 1, BYU 0
Top of the Third:
Anderson is overmatched and goes down swinging. Nola has dominated the bottom of BYU’s order. One away… Back to the top, and Hannemann walks on a payoff pitch… Nielsen singles to left-center, and the speedy Hannemann goes first to second. Runners on the corners with one down… Nola falls behind 3-1 so he throws a get-me-over fastball, and Law takes it to left for an RBI single. Nielson to second, and we’re tied at 1… BOOM! Brugman tattoos it to right-center for a three-run dinger. 4-1 BYU… After a visit from Alan Dunn, Whitney rolls to third for out No. 2… Caldwell fans, and whatever Dunn said must have calmed Nola down… Four runs. Three hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 4, LSU 1
Bottom of the Third:
Laird flies it to left near the line, but the swirling wind does a number on Caldwell out there. The ball drops for a double… Bregman reaches out and lobs it to left for out No. 1. Not a productive out there… Rhymes comes back from an 0-2 hole to draw a walk. Poulson let him off the hook there… Katz pops out in the infield. Two gone… Jones gaps a double to the right-center wall to score both. 4-3 BYU… Jones to third on a failed pickoff attempt to second that winds up in center field. E-1… After fouling a few rockets, Moore nubs it weakly to second… Two runs. Two hits. One error. One left on base (third)… BYU 4, LSU 3
Top of the Fourth:
Hernandez loops what looks like a Texas Leaguer off the bat, but Jones runs it down with his amazing speed. He’s doing it all so far this year… Favero bunts for a hit down the first base line. Perfectly placed, and LSU wasn’t positioned to see that coming… Anderson one-hops Nola, and he begins a 1-6-3 DP to retire the side. Nola is really taking it to the bottom of the Cougar order. The top is a different story… No runs. One hit. No errors. None left on base… BYU 4, LSU 3
Bottom of the Fourth:
Ross pops out to shallow center. One down… Ibarra takes a four-pitch walk… Sciambra slices a single to left. Ibarra to second… Laird flies out to semi-deep center, and Ibarra tags for third. Runners on the corners with two down… Wild pitch bounces off the backstop and right back to Hernandez. He tags Ibarra at the plate. Bad break for LSU there… No runs. One hit. No errors. One left on base (first)… BYU 4, LSU 3
Top of the Fifth:
Hannemann two-hops Jones. One down… Nielson also bounces out to Jones. Two gone… Law chops it to Ibarra. Nice 1-2-3 frame vs. the 1-2-3 hitters for Nola… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 4, LSU 3
Bottom of the Fifth:
Bregman flies out near the warning track in center. Wind almost pushed it out, but it’s a loud out No. 1… Rhymes almost beats out a swinging bunt. Nice fielding by Poulson. Two outs… Katz flies out to deep center in almost the same spot as Bregman… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 4, LSU 3
Top of the Sixth:
Brugman flies out sky high to Sciambra. One down… Whitney lines out to a backing up Sciambra for the second out… Caldwell walks on a 3-2 pitch. That’s his career-high third walk of the night… Hernandez fans on an offspeed pitch… No runs. No hits. No errors. One left on base (first)… BYU 4, LSU 3
Bottom of the Sixth:
Sidewinding righty Derek Speigner is the new BYU pitcher… He plunks Jones on his third offering… Jones steals second… Moore rolls out to short in front of Jones so he can’t advance. One out… Jones takes off for third, and even though the throw beats him, it appeared he was never tagged. Mainieri out to argue, but all that does is delay matters. Two away… Ross watches strike three… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 4, LSU 3
Top of the Seventh:
Will LaMarche in to pitch for LSU. That closes the book on an up and down performance from Nola… Favero can’t catch up to the LaMarche fastball and foul tips it into Ross’ glove. One gone… Anderson chops it high to Ibarra. He leaps, coils and throws Anderson out. Nice play. Two outs… Hannemann absolutely hits it on the screws to right, but Laird doesn’t have to move very much. Side retired… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 4, LSU 3
Bottom of the Seventh:
Ibarra rolls out to short for the first out… Sciambra whiffs. Two away… Laird singles between third and short… Bregman shoots a Texas Leaguer inside the right-field foul line by inches to score Laird. Nice two-out rally by LSU. Rhymes flies out… One run. Two hits. No errors. One left on base (second)… LSU 4, BYU 4
Top of the Eighth:
Nielsen bounces it through the middle for a single… Law lines out right at Rhymes. One out, and Mainieri will switch to lefty Hunter Devall… Brugman doubles to the left-center wall, and Nielsen scores all the way from first. Devall doesn’t do his job vs. the lefty, and Mainieri makes the switch to Joey Bourgeois… He pulls the string on Whitney on a 3-2 pitch. Great offering. Two down… After falling behind Caldwell 2-0, LSU gives him the free pass. First and second now… Wild pitch moves the runners up… Hernandez hits a can of corn to right, and LSU has to feel fortunate that the damage wasn’t worse… One run. Two hits. No errors. Two left on base (second, third)… BYU 5, LSU 4
Bottom of the Eighth:
Katz lobs a fly out to center off the end of his bat. One away… Jones takes a backwards K on a nice inside breaking ball. Two gone… Moore lines out to center, and LSU is down to its last three outs… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 5, LSU 4
Top of the Ninth:
Trace Hansen pinch hits in the DH slot and takes strike three. One out… Anderson does the same. Two gone… Hannemann flails, and Bourgeois has been great out of the pen. Last chance for LSU… No runs. No hits. No errors. None left on base… BYU 5, LSU 4
Bottom of the Ninth:
Matt Milke in to try to get the save for the Cougars… Ross bounces a two-hoper to charging short. Maybe a faster runner could have had a chance but not the catcher. One gone… WOW! Ibarra lifts the crowd to its feet with a homer to left. We’re tied at five… That may have rattled Milke as he walks Sciambra on four straight… Laird reaches out and loops a single to left. Sciambra to second as the winning run… Bregman inside outs it to right so shallow that Sciambra can’t think about scoring. Bases loaded for the guy you’d want up - Rhymes… He crushes it to the warning track. Hannemann doesn’t catch it. Doesn’t matter. Sciambra scores the winning run on what’s ruled a single. Thrilling win for LSU… Two runs. Four hits. No errors… Gametime: 2:53
FINAL: LSU 6, BYU 5