Oregon State defeated Belmont this afternoon by a final of 2-1 to advance to tomorrow night's winner's bracket game. Below are some good and bad points from today's action:
Jace Fry - It wasn't always easy for the freshman (we'll touch on that later), but he put the Beavers in great position to survive and advance from game one. Fry did a great job all afternoon of getting quick outs to start the inning, and while he didn't always finish them promptly, he was able to escape many jams with runners in scoring position. The Bruins only run came on a leadoff triple, and Fry almost got out of that jam as well.
Situational Hitting - The Beavers have done a downright poor job all season long of getting runners in from third with less than two outs. Part of that has been not batting to what the situation calls for. Today, the Beavers manufactured both of their runs by not trying to do anything to fancy. Kavin Keyes hit a sacrifice fly that was just deep enough to get Ryan Barnes home in the second inning, and Barnes got a RBI of his own with a brilliant suicide/push bunt down the first base line in the sixth.
The Return of the Killer B's - Some fans earlier in the year described the Killer B's as the duo of Cole Brocker and Tony Bryant killing the Beavers chances in late game situations. That was not the case today in Baton Rouge as the old form of the B's returned; Matt Boyd and Bryant killing the opponent's comeback chances. The B's combined for four innings of shutout, two hit baseball after Fry left the game with tightness in the forearm.
Two Out Walks/HBP's/Hits - The Beavers will be able to get away with those two-out flubs against teams like Belmont and Louisiana-Monroe, but LSU will make them pay if they do it again tomorrow.
Honestly, that's all I can come up with in the "bad" category. No, they didn't hit the ball well, but it's tough to score more than two runs against an ace from any team in this tournament. Overall, a pretty good game to start out this regional.
ULM-LSU Preview after the break
Louisiana-Monroe and LSU close out day one of the Baton Rouge Regional tonight.
The Warhawks finished tied for fourth in the Sun Belt, 5.5 games out of first, but were included in the Field of 64 after winning the Sun Belt Tournament. The Tigers lost 2 of 3 games last week in the SEC Tournament, but have won 5 of their last 7 overall.
Louisiana-Monroe is located in Monroe, LA. The school was founded in 1931, and has an enrollment of 8,405. Notable baseball alumni from ULM include four-time MLB All-Star Ben Sheets. Ace the Warhawk is their mascot.
Both the Warhawks and LSU missed the NCAA Tournament last season. ULM finished with a 24-30 mark, while LSU went 36-20.
The Warhawks are 2-4 against NCAA tournament teams this season, including a series win over the Southland Conference regular season champion, Sam Houston State. LSU comes in with a 15-12 against tournament teams.
Tonight's winner meets Oregon State tomorrow at 5:00 PM Pacific, while the loser will face Belmont in an elimination game at 12:00 PM.
Louisiana-Monroe is expected to go with junior LHP Randy Zeigler (5-6, 3.65 ERA), the best arm on a pretty poor staff. LSU is going to open with freshman RHP Aaron Nola (6-4, 3.93 ERA).