Steven Milam hits another walk-off homer in LSU’s comeback win over Wofford in Chapel Hill Regional

Steven Milam hit the game winning homer in the bottom of the ninth to send LSU to the winner's bracket of the Chapel Hill Regional. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

Wofford had never won a game in an NCAA Regional coming into its matchup with LSU.

For about seven innings it looked like that would change. The Terriers had a two-run lead over the Tigers for most of the game and LSU’s offense had only mustered two hits. But LSU came to life late, and a barrage of solo homers helped it to a 4-3 win over Wofford.

“What a game. I’m really proud of our team. Wofford is a great team. We knew that coming in,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “You could easily see where the .340 batting average came from, the stolen bases, the execution and the pitching. They did alot of things right today. You know, fortunately for us, we have great players. Gage was outstanding today. Good pitchers find a way to win no matter what. And there’s nobody better than him. And Steven, another clutch performance.”

Steven Milam, Michael Braswell and Jared Jones each had solo homers in the last few innings to help LSU get back into the game. Milam started the charge with a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, but he saved his best for last.

Milam came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth and hit his second homer of the game to walk-off the Terriers and send LSU to the winner’s bracket. It was Milam’s second walk-off homer in the last week after he hit one in extra innings to send LSU to the SEC championship game.

“I was just trying to get on base,” Milam said. “You know, pass the sticks again to Mac [Bingham] and have somebody else win the game. I wasn’t trying to win it in one swing. That’s when you do too much. He threw probably, I think, eight fastballs, so I got my timing down and got a pitch I could drive and it ended up leaving.”

LSU had just six hits on the day, but four of them were home runs.

Branton Little for the start the start on the mound for the Terriers and he gave LSU’s offense fits. In only his fifth start of the season, Little held the Tigers to just two hits and no runs during his five innings of work. He walked just three batters and struck out three on 86 total pitches before being pulled.

Gage Jump got the start for LSU and was his usually self for most of the game, but a rough second inning was the difference in the game until late. He allowed a leadoff double in the top of the second and a sac bunt brought the runner to third.

A sac fly from Tyler Hare gave the Terriers a lead they wouldn’t let go of until the end of the game. A single put another runner on base before Lucas Manning stole second. Wofford is one of the best teams in the country at stealing bases, and the free bag led to a run after a single from Andrew Mannelly brought the runner home and made it 2-0.

Outside of the second inning, Jump was able to take care of the high-powered Terriers’ offense for the most part. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and kept the deficit to just two runs heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Freshman Milam finally put the LSU offense on the board with a solo homer that made it a 2-1 game. It was the only run support Jump would get though as a ground out, fly out and strike out ended the inning.

Jump allowed another run in the top of the eighth inning when Jack Renwick blasted a solo homer to make it a 3-1 game. Jump was pulled from the game shortly afterwards. He finished the day with nine strikeouts and allowed six hits, three runs and no walks in 7.1 innings pitched.

Gavin Guidry came in for Jump and allowed a single but got the final two outs of the inning. Michael Braswell III recorded his first hit of the day in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer to make it a 3-2 game.

Jones followed it up with a solo shot of his own to tie up the game at 3-3. LSU couldn’t use its momentum to reclaim the lead, but it was a tied game heading into the ninth inning.

Griffin Herring came in to pitch to start the ninth and showed why he’s the Tigers’ top reliever. He struck out the side to give LSU a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth.

Milam came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth and hit another homer to hand the Tigers the come-from-behind victory. He worked an eight pitch at-bat including four foul balls before finally launching the winning run.

LSU will play tomorrow against the winner of the North Carolina-Long Island game. That game will start at 4 p.m.

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Will Nickel

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