Tigers bash their way past Oregon State, head to CWS final
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 25, 2017,
Jun 25, 2017, 23:08
LSU will await the victor of Saturday night's matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and Florida Gators, before a best-of-three series will begin on Monday night from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Pitcher Alex Lange also was able to deliver for his team, as he eliminated the first six batters for the Beavers. "I can't put it into words yet. They'd say we've played better baseball, but I told them that there will be a time that comes where you realize the season we've had".
LSU has never lost a CWS final. Game 2 is 7 p.m. Tuesday with a third game at 7 p.m. Wednesday, if necessary.
LSU thus holds the staffing advantage of having thrown Lange, Poche, and shutdown man Zack Hess 24 hours earlier than Saturday's bouts, and they should be ready to go when the dogfights of late inning work needs to be dealt with. But they overcame a level of adversity, not just once but twice, earning LSU some much-needed credibility.
Caleb Gilbert, pressed into the starting rotation by injury, fired 7.1 unbelievable innings of two-hit ball, pitching the game of his career on the biggest of stages. We've got a lot of pride in our program.
The Tigers offense once again came to the aid of their starter with early run support. He struck out Greg Deichmann looking before walking Zach Watson and striking out Smith to end the inning. Jordan hammered a 1-and-0 offering foul, adjusted and drilled a double down the field line.
"[It's] just like an SEC weekend", Robertson said. "I had to get first-pitch strikes in there, and when I got ahead I wanted to make them pay for it". Like I just said, it's going to come down to who executes. "I do believe it certainly would have changed that inning".
Papierski got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning, launching a three-run home run into the right field seats to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
"I think all the way up to the last inning of this game, we got the leadoff hitter out in every inning, so that was huge", Gilbert said. "I put a good swing on a couple of fastballs today, and the wind helped out a little bit". ESPN replays clearly showed the ball hit the padding. I know Paul likes to be aggressive on the base paths and they hit a ton, so we'll have to do a good job there.
"He just goes out there and pitches his heart out".
Florida mustered one run in the second inning.
Kramer Robertson went 3 for 3 with a walk and a run for LSU.
LSU's Josh Smith (4) hits an RBI single during the second inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game against OR in Omaha, Neb., Friday.
Beau Jordan added a solo home run in the sixth inning, and Antoine Duplantis delivered an RBI single in the third for the Tigers, who will face the Florida-TCU victor in the CWS Finals. Florida is seeking its first national title in baseball.
"Bryce had been sharp the last time out and we thought that we could try to turn the game over to (Rasmussen) at the point that we did", Yeskie said. "So those runs we kept adding were huge". That was plenty for Gilbert. Gilbert retired the first 11 batters he faced.
In the ninth inning, despite a five-run deficit, a glimmer of hope emerged when Steven Kwan connected on a single past diving LSU second baseman Cole Freeman.
Zack Hess, who had saves in the Tigers' first three CWS wins, came in and wasn't almost as sharp as he had been. Langworthy scored on Mike Rivera's RBI-ground out to second base.
"It's a surreal feeling to be able to pitch your team when their back's against the wall in an elimination game into the College World Series final", Gilbert said. We tried to go out and win the next pitch, the next out, the next game, whatever it might be.