Josh Pearson’s 4 RBI and LSU’s 21 hits inspire five-run comeback win over Wofford

Josh Pearson - Chapel Hill Regional. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU baseball found itself in an early hole again.

The Tigers seem to have made a habit out of falling behind early this season, but they also seem to have made a habit of coming back. Against the Terriers in an elimination game, they fell behind 5-0 in the first inning, but LSU fans knew that didn’t mean they were out of the game.

If there’s any team that can come back from an early hole, it’s the Tigers. They came back from an 8-0 deficit in the SEC semifinals and fought back from a 3-12 start in SEC play to make the postseason.

They did it again on Sunday to keep their season alive. LSU came back from down five to win by seven in a 13-6 win over Wofford to set up a rematch with North Carolina at 5 p.m.

“In an NCAA tournament game to have 21 hits and 13 runs, it’s a good day for sure,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said.

The first inning couldn’t have gone much worse for LSU. Tommy White and Jared Jones both struck out and Steven Milam flied out to send the Tigers’ offense down in order. Then, in the bottom of the inning, starter Nate Ackenhausen only recorded two outs before being pulled.

Ackenhausen allowed three singles, including a perfectly executed bunt to put the runner in scoring position, to score the first run of the game. Another bunt brought home a second run and a walk loaded the bases. Ackenhausen was pulled from the game with just two outs gone for Griffin Herring.

Alex Milazzo was called for catcher’s interference to score another run and a two-RBI double from Jack Renwick brought the score to 5-0. Herring forced a flyout to finally end the inning.

Josh Pearson doubled down the right field line and made it to third on a wild pitch to start the second. A sac fly from Michael Braswell III scored Pearson and started the comeback. Ashton Larson singled and advanced to second on a balk before being brought home thanks to a single from Jake Brown.

The Tigers added another run in the top of the fourth thanks to Braswell and Larson again. Braswell singled and made it to second base on a wild pitch before Larson hit an RBI single to make it a 5-3 game.

The Terriers added a little cushion to their shrinking lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a sac fly from Dixon Black after singles from Andrew Mannelly and Marshall Toole. Heading into the fifth down three runs though, LSU’s offense still wasn’t done battling.

Jared Jones singled to left field before Josh Pearson absolutely hammered a two-RBI homer over the right field wall to make it a one-run game. Braswell singled and Larson walked to put another runner in scoring position before Brady Neal singled up the middle to tie up the game at six.

Herring forced a three up, three down inning in the bottom of the fifth and got through the sixth without allowing any runs to set the stage for LSU to complete its comeback in the seventh. Pearson drew a walk to start the inning and Braswell singled to put a runner in scoring position.

Larson flied out to bring the runner to third base before a sac fly from Brown gave the Tigers their first lead of the game. Milazzo singled and a throwing error on the play let another run score and made it an 8-6 lead for LSU.

Herring convinced Jay Johnson to let him come out for another inning and allowed a single but nothing else in the bottom of the seventh. Herring finished the game with seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched. He allowed five hits, one run and no walks on a season-high 89 pitches.

LSU added to its lead again in the eighth to put the game out of reach for good. Steven Milam and Jones singled before an RBI double from Pearson scored one run. Neal hit a single to right field and an error on the throw home helped score two more to give the Tigers a five-run lead.

Kade Anderson came in for LSU to close out the game in the eighth inning and struck out the side to head to the final inning. The Tigers added a pair of runs in the ninth thanks to an RBI single from Jones and a sac fly from Pearson. They finished the game with 21 hits.

Will Hellmers came in to close out the game in the ninth and got the final three outs to set up a 5 p.m. rematch with UNC.

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Will Nickel

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