LSU powers past South Carolina 11-0 to make SEC title game

The Gamecocks trailed 1-0 until Hopkins hit his three-run shot off Logan Salow (2-6). LSU pounded out 14 hits and mercy ruled SC, 11-0, on a steamy Saturday afternoon at the Hoover Met.

SC advanced to the semifinals at the SEC Tournament for the first time since the 2007 season. Now 42-17 and No. 7 in the RPI before Saturday's demolition, LSU nearly certainly has sown up a sixth consecutive national seed regardless of what happens Sunday. The Tigers scored five runs in the second inning to take control.

The game ended after the seventh inning under the 10-run mercy rule. LSU has outscored its opponents 31-3 so far in Hoover.

On the mound for LSU, Jared Poche was brilliant, allowing just two hits over six innings.

Few of the 36 previous wins came so effortlessly.

The University of SC baseball team will be able to continue to make its case for a bid to the NCAA tournament one more day. It was his fourth complete game of the season and second shutout.

Robertson homered in the first and scored two more times after a single in the second and a triple in the third. Hjelle was the victim of a big error by Marshall, who misplayed a potential double play ball.

The sophomore then delivered USC's biggest hit of the season on Friday, blasting a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh inning as the Gamecocks topped No. 10 Kentucky 3-1. Freeman greeted new pitcher John Parke by lining his first pitch to right for an RBI single. Antoine Duplantis singled to RF to score Robertson.

No. 3 seed Kentucky is 39-20 after being eliminated from the tournament. LSU promptly batted around to remove any semblance of doubt from the outcome. Tristan Pompey and Kole Cottam each sent balls to the warning track in the first inning, while Marcus Carson and Evan White each were robbed on tremendous catches by LSU centerfielder Zach Watson.

Hopkins has battled a lingering quad issue all season that's kept him out of the lineup some throughout the course of the 55-game regular season.

The strangest play of the game - and fortuitous for LSU - came when SC loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth and Poche hooked a curveball so high it bounced off the backstop and back to catcher Michael Papierski, who threw to Poche covering home for a tag and out No. 3. He pitched 1⅔ scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Sunday: Don't miss an expanded edition of "It's Just Sports with Kristian Garic from 10am till 1:30pm".

LSU outhit Kentucky 12-6.

  • Julie Sanders