POSTED: Sunday, June 3, 2012 - 9:00pm
UPDATED: Monday, June 4, 2012 - 3:26pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — The LSU baseball team secured its place in the NCAA Super Regionals at Alex Box Stadium by scoring runs in the ninth and 10th innings to complete a 6-5 comeback over Oregon State on Sunday.
LSU (46-16), the region’s top seed, advanced to the best-of-three series and will face the winner of Monday's 6 p.m. CT matchup between Central Florida and Stony Brook in Coral Gables, Fla.
The Tigers, who have never failed to advance after winning the first two games of a regional, trailed 5-3 through six innings before finally scraping across an unearned run in the seventh against Beavers reliever Scott Schultz.
Schultz handcuffed LSU for 8 2/3 innings after entering in the first inning. He allowed only three runs on three hits in relief of starter Taylor Starr, who lasted only 1/3 of an inning after giving up three early runs.
Down 5-4 in the top of the ninth, LSU catcher Ty Ross doubled and Alex Edward hit another double to the same spot in left-center field to tie the game. In the bottom half, LSU lefty Chris Cotton (7-0) fought past a one-out double to force extra innings.
The Tigers got the game-winning ahead run in the top of the 10th when Austin Nola -- the tournament's Most Outstanding Player -- scored on a wild pitch by Dylan Davis (1-1). Nola had reached on the first of three walks in the 10th, advanced to third on a double by JaCoby Jones and scored on a wild pitch.
Though LSU left the bases loaded in the 10th, Nick Goody struck out the side to earn his 11th save and complete the perfect start to NCAA postseason play by the Tigers.
Oregon State's season came to an end at 40-20 overall.
“Obviously, it was a tremendous victory for our team,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was truly a tremendous victory. This was a total team victory. It was tough. It was a grind out there, it really was. (LSU starting pitcher) Ryan (Eades) was giving it everything he had. We had a great lead there in the first inning, with the way we started the game with Raph (Rhymes’) home run.”
To start the game, Oregon State starter Taylor Starr walked Nola, who moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a single by Jones. Mason Katz' single to right field scored Nola, and Rhymes launched his fourth home run of the season into the left field bleachers for a 3-0 lead.
In sending Starr to the dugout early, the Tigers got all they handle with Schultz. The right hander retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced, as LSU managed base runners with two errors and a single by Rhymes that was erased with a double play.
Oregon State began to battle back against Eades (5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) in the bottom half of the first, as Tyler Smith singled to center field and ran all the way to third when LSU center fielder Arby Fields overran the ball. Smith scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Conforto to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Beavers used Ryan Barnes' first double of the night and a two-out RBI single by Ryan Gorton to get within a run, 3-2, in the second.
The game was tied at 3-3 by Oregon State in the fourth when Barnes hit his second double of the game and scored on a two-out single to center by John Tommasini.
The Beavers went ahead for the first time in the sixth after Eades got the first two outs. Eades loaded the bases when Gorton singled to center, Tommasini walked and Max Gordon was hit by a pitch. A two-RBI single by Smith drove Eades from the game trailing 5-3.
LSU's Nick Rumbelow entered in relief of Eades and ended the threat with a strikeout.
“Ryan was competing really hard, but he just couldn’t put them away with two outs,” Mainieri said. “They came through with those hits, and suddenly we’re down. I thought (Oregon State head coach) Pat (Casey) made a tremendous move going to his closer, Schultz, right away. That kid just shut us down. He totally had us baffled there for several innings, but our kids never got discouraged. We had some tough at bats, but the kids just kept battling. They kept battling all the way through.
“I thought Nick Rumbelow was very key to the game, for him to come in and stem the tide there for us. I almost wish I had brought him in a batter earlier now. (Chris) Cotton gave us a great inning. What Nick Goody did, I tell you, that’s true closing. To close a championship with a one-run lead and throw the ball the way he did. That’s why you have to stick with people that have that kind of talent.”
LSU scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh, as Grant Dozar was hit by a pitch and both Edward and Tyler Hanover reached on errors by third baseman Ryan Dunn. The latter allowed Dozar to cut the Beavers' advantage to 5-4.
In the top of the ninth, a pair of doubles by Ross and Edward went to the gap in left-center to tie the game at 5-5. However, the Tigers couldn't push across the go-ahead run when Hanover struck out and pinch hitter Tyler Moore grounded out.
Paid attendance for the regional final was 11,036 (8,978 actual).
LSU 6, Oregon State 5 (Jun 03, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)
LSU....................... 300 000 101 1 - 6 7 1 (46-16)
Oregon State........ 110 102 000 0 - 5 10 4 (40-20)
Pitchers: LSU - Ryan Eades; Nick Rumbelow(6); Chris Cotton(9); Nick Goody(10) and Ty Ross;
Oregon State - Starr, Taylor; Schultz, Scott(1); Davis, Dylan(10); Bryant, Tony(10); Brocker, Cole(10); Boyd, Matt(10) and Gorton, Ryan.
Win-Chris Cotton(7-0) Save-Nick Goody(11) Loss-Davis, Dylan(1-1) T-3:38 A-11036
HR LSU - Raph Rhymes (4).
Actual Attendance: 8,978
Game televised by Cox Sports TV.
2012 Baton Rouge Regional All-Tournament Team
MOP: Austin Nola, LSU
P Kevin Gausman, LSU
P Aaron Nola, LSU
C Ty Ross, LSU *
1B Joey Rapp, UL-Monroe
2B John Tommasini, Oregon St.
SS Austin Nola, LSU *
3B Judd Edwards, UL-Monroe
OF Michael Conforto, Oregon St.
OF Ryan Barnes, Oregon St.
OF Joey Matthews, Oregon St.
DH Danny Hayes, Oregon St.