Steven Milam blasts extra-inning walk-off homer to send LSU to the SEC Championship

Steven Milam walked it off to send LSU to the SEC Championship. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU baseball has had its back to the wall for the entire season.

After starting SEC play with a 3-12 record, every game mattered for the Tigers or else their postseason chances were over. When it looked like their season was done and dusted, they fought back and secured their place in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

When LSU found itself in an 8-0 hole in the fourth inning of the SEC semifinals, it did what it had done all season when it found its back against the wall: it fought back. It seemed like the game was over early, but if any team could do it, it was this year’s Tigers.

LSU battled back and forced extra innings and looked like it had gotten the final out during the top of the 10th. However, the umps came together and decided to reconvene and say that there was catcher’s interference and awarded the Gamecocks a run. Jay Johnson was ejected shortly afterwards. South Carolina was up 11-10 heading to the bottom of the tenth inning and the Tigers were down and out again.

But like they had time and time again, LSU showed it didn’t have any quit. Steven Milam stepped up to bat and made sure the game wouldn’t end in controversy. He blasted a homer that scored two runs and gave the Tigers a 12-11 win. It was the second largest comeback in SEC Tournament history. LSU will play either Vanderbilt or Tennessee on Sunday for a shot at its first SEC Tournament win since 2017.

Javen Coleman got the start on the mound for LSU. It was his first start since the Tigers’ blowout win over Grambling on April 30. Things went alright for Coleman in the first inning, but he quickly found himself in trouble in the second before being pulled in the third.

He gave up a leadoff double in the second inning followed by a single that put runners on the corners. A sac fly scored a runner, and he allowed another single, but a strikeout and a pop out ended the inning.

Aidan Moffett came in for Coleman in the third after he walked two straight batters. Moffett got the second out of the third inning, but he allowed a homer to Dalton Reeves to make it 4-0 game. The homer was the 39th of the tournament, the most in SEC Tournament history.

Moffett loaded up the bases in the fourth inning thanks to a single and a pair of free bases. A fly out made it 5-0 before Cole Messina, who torched LSU for six RBI in game one, hit an RBI single to make it 6-0.

DJ Primeaux came in to pitch and allowed a two RBI single from Parker Noland to make it 8-0. He struck out the next two batters he faced to end the damage there, but it the Gamecocks found themselves comfortably.

The Tigers’ offense made sure South Carolina didn’t get too comfortable though. Milam started the inning with a double and Ashton Larson drew a walk. Michael Braswell III came up to bat with two outs gone and hit an RBI single to put LSU on the board. Tommy White drew a walk to load up the bases and Jared Jones drew another walk to score another.

Josh Pearson followed that up with a two RBI single up the middle to cut into the lead even more. Hayden Travinski singled down the left field line and the ball rolled through the legs of the outfielder and made it to the wall to allow two more runners to score and make it an 8-6 game.

Sam Dutton came in to pitch for LSU in the fifth and found himself in trouble in the sixth. He hit the leadoff batter with a pitch and then allowed a single to put runners on the corners. A fly out scored one and Noland hit his third RBI of the game to extend the lead to 10-6.

Jones replied for LSU in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer to make it a three-run game. The Tigers would add more runs to the board in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Brown started with a single and made his way to third on a throwing error before Larson hit a sac fly to score him. Braswell blasted a homer to left center field with two outs gone to make it a 10-9 game.

Brown hit a double to start the bottom of the ninth and put the tying run in scoring position before a sac bunt and a throwing error to first tied the game at 10-10 and put the winning run on second. LSU brought the winning run to third, but a ground out sent it to extra innings.

Gavin Guidry came in to pitch in the tenth inning. He had runners on the corners with two outs gone thanks to a pair of walks and wild pitches before being replace by Griffin Herring. The Gamecocks tried to steal home, but the runner was thrown out at the plate. However, afterwards the umps met and overturned the ruling and award South Carolina the run. A groundout ended the inning over 15 minutes after LSU thought it was over.

Travinski reached base on a pitch clock violation and Milam blasted the winning homer. The game was over, and LSU was headed to the SEC championship game on a seven game win streak.

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Will Nickel

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