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LSU Rallys For 6-5 10 Inning Win Over OSU

LSU jumped to an early lead, but then had to rally for a run in the 9th to force an extra inning, and then finally pull out a 6-5 win in the 10th inning to win the Baton Rogue regional, and earn the right to host a Super Regional next weekend.

Here's the perspective on the game from, the Tigers' site.

The third ranked Tigers took a 3-0 lead before the Beavers ever picked up a bat. Oregon St. senior starter Taylor Starr wasn't sharp from the start, walking LSU leadoff hitter Austin Nola, uncorking a wild pitch, and then giving up a single to Jacoby Jones.

Jones got caught stealing, but Starr couldn't recover, and Nola scored on Mason Katz's single. Raph Rhymes then homered to end Starr's career, and it looked bad for the Beavers.

However, Scott Schultz took over, and proceeded to shut the Tigers out until the 7th inning, by which time the Beavers had battled back to take a 5-3 lead. Schultz set LSU down in order in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th innings.

The Tigers got a critical run in the 7th, however, capitalizing on a pair of errors by Beavers' third baseman Ryan Dunn. Dunn, one of Oregon St.'s best gloves, was already having an uncharacteristicly bad day, having made errors in the 1st and 2nd innings, though they wound up not hurting the Beavers.

That changed in the 7th, however. Schultz had already hit leadoff hitter Grant Dozar when Alex Edward singled through Dunn's legs. Ryan Gorton threw out Edwards at second on a double steal, but Dozar moved to third, and then scored when Tyler Hanover hit a line drive off Dunn's knee.

Getting within 1 run was vital come the 9th inning.

The Oregon St. rally had started immediately, as Tyler Smith turned a single into 2 bases in the bottom of the first on an error by LSU centerfielder Arby Fields, stole third, and scored on Michael Conforto's RBI fly to center.

The Beavers pulled within 3-2 in the 2nd inning, when Ryan Barnes doubled, and scored on a single by Ryan Gorton, and then tied it up in 4th, when Barnes doubled again, moved to third on Kavin Keyes' fly ball, and scored on John Tommasini's RBI single.

The Beavers then forged ahead with 2 runs in the 6th. With 2 outs, Gorton singled, Tommasini drew a walk, and then the Tigers' starter Ryan Eades hit Max Gordon to load the bases. Smith then singled up the middle to drive in Gorton and Tommasini, and end Eades' evening.

Oregon St. couldn't keep it going, as Conforto struck out, and it would be one of several missed opportunities to put the game away. The Beavers eventually left 9 runners stranded, as their season long problem of not blowing games open persisted.

LSU finally got to Schultz in the 9th, when Ty Ross led off with a double, and Jared Foster who ran for Ross, scored to tie the game on a double by Alex Edward 2 hitters later.

Oregon St., who was the designated home team, and batted last, had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 9th, when Conforto doubled with 1 out. Oregon St. coach Pat Casey decided to try for the win, and had Ryan Dettman pinch run for Conforto, who has seen his shin injury that started during the Stanford get progressively worse. But Danny Hayes struck out, and Dunn's slicing fly down the right field line left Dettman still standing at second.

Dylan Davis took over for Schultz, who struck out 9 and allowed only 3 hits, and threw 103 pitches, in the 10th, but was ineffective. Nola walked, moved to third on a double by Jones, and scored what would be the winning run when Davis uncorked a wild pitch. Davis then issued a walk, and it was obvious that the fireballer wasn't going to be able to get the job done.

The "Killer Bs" took over and shut LSU down, keeping Oregon St. in it. Tony Bryant issued a walk to load the bases, setting up a force everywhere. Cole Brocker came in, and got a chopper to short that Smith fired to the plate to get the first out. Matt Boyd came in, and got an infield fly for the second out, and then struck out Edward to end the inning.

The Tigers still had their ace closer Nick Goody in reserve though. Goody, who entered the game with 42 strikeouts on the season, came in and struck out the side to end the Beavers' season. In all Oregon St. batters struck out 14 times.

"We were just trying to keep them from scoring," Casey said of the 10th inning. "We knew we were going to get Goody in the bottom of the 10th. Scoring 2 runs off him is pretty difficult. We just thought we had good matchups. Davis was electric last night, but he didn't find the plate tonight. We thought we had good matchups with (Cole) Brocker and (Matt) Boyd. It worked. We had (Austin) Nola 0-2 to start the inning and he did a heck of a job walking. We had the next kid (JaCoby Jones) 2-2 and the guy found just inside the right field line. The guys who came in did a heck of a job."

It was by far the longest outing of the season for Schultz, who had not gone longer than 4 2/3 innings previously.

"Scott was outstanding," Casey commented. "He punched out 9 (batters) in 8 2/3 (innings). He was electric. He threw the ball on both sides of the plate with command of three pitches. I thought he dominated for a long period of time there, especially during about a 3 inning stretch there where he was sharp."

Chris Cotton, who pitched the 9th inning, got the win for LSU, improving him to 7-0 for the season. The freshman Davis got the loss, dropping him to 1-1 for the year. Goody got the save, his 11th of the season.

Oregon St. finished the year 40-20, their second consecutive 40 win season, and only their 5th in history, all under Casey. The Beavers were also one of 5 Pac-12 teams to win at least 40 games.

"I'm just extremely proud of our club," Casey said. "We asked them one thing before the game, and that was just to battle and compete, and they went above and beyond the call."

LSU improved to 46-16, and will host the winner of tomorrow's Stony Brook-University of Central Florida game in a Super Regional next week. The Sea Wolves beat the Knights 12-5 tonight to force the deciding game.

Conforto, Hayes, Tommasini, Barnes, and Matthews were all named to the Baton Rogue Regional All-Tournament team.

16th ranked Oregon St. was the first of the 5 Pac-12 teams to lose, much less be eliminated from the NCAA playoffs, but was the only one of the 5 to travel in the first round. This despite the fact that the Beavers had series wins over 3 of the conference's teams that got to host Regionals, including "National Seed" Oregon.

The reason was a comparatively weak non-conference schedule, which produced a relatively poor RPI in the low 20s. Still, the Beavers deserved a better regional assignment than to go to LSU, arguably the toughest place in the country to play at. The Tigers, who have won 6 College World Series, have only lost 1 regional or Super Regional that they hosted. Ever.

That said, Oregon St. had a chance to at least extend LSU for another day, but didn't capitalize on too many opportunities to score all season, and the same problem ended their season tonight, after they had posted a dominant 11-2 win over Lousiana-Monroe in the afternoon to earn a rematch with LSU.

The Beavers went 2-2 for the weekend, while the conference's other 4 teams all swept their home regionals in 3 games each.

Pac-12 Champion UCLA defeated Creighton 13-5, and will host the winner of tomorrow's TCU-Mississippi game next week at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Oregon defeated Austin-Peay 8-1, and will host Kent St., the 3 seed from the Purdue/Gary, IN, regional next week at PK Park.

Arizona will host St. Johns, the #3 seed from the Chapel Hill/North Carolina regional next week, after destroying Louisville 16-3. The Wildcats scored 15 runs Friday night, 16 Saturday night, and 16 more Sunday!

Stanford had to come from behind, and then hold off Pepperdine, for an 8-7 win, and will travel to Florida St. next weekend.