By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
EUGENE, OR: The Tigers are in Eugene, Oregon where Paul Mainieri will have one final opportunity to coach his LSU Tigers as they would battle Gonzaga on Friday night in regional action. Unfortunately the Tigers continued to compete in their struggling regular season form. No offense what-so-ever, errors on defense, and an inaffective bullpen. The 3-0 loss was as horrifying as a Stephen King novel. It was the first time LSU has lost a regional opening game since 1985.
Below is our Game Break Down....
The Tigers would begin the game with both Tre' Morgan (fly out) and Dylan Crews (stuck out swinging) going down at the plate. Gavin Dugas would single to center field, but would get picked off at first base by Gonzaga pitcher Alek Jacob to end the top of the 1st...
The Bulldogs would come out swinging as Ernie Yake would leadoff with a single to right center, followed by a single to second base by Brett Harris to set up runners on first and second with no outs.
After a Tyler Rando fly out, Landon Marceaux would get Andrew Orzel to ground into a double play to end the Gonzaga threat.
Alek Jacob would take down the LSU hitters in order as each Tiger would pop out to the infield for a three up-three down inning.
Grayson Sterling would lead off the bottom of the 2nd inning with a leadoff stand up triple to right center field. Guthrie Morrison would then step up and hit a single to the right side to score Sterling. Marceaux would then walk Mason Marenco before finally getting the first out of the inning, striking out Jack Machtolf and then out number two fanning Ryan Sullivan.
Just when it seemed like Marceaux could get out of the inning with no more damage done, Yake would double down the right field line to score Morrison. Brett Harris would fly out to center field to end the 2nd inning with Gonzaga up, 2-0.
LSU would make no noise in the top of the 3rd, as Jordan Thompson who came through with a one out single, would
be stranded at second base...
Landon Marceaux would finally settle down, sitting the first two Bulldog hitters before Sterling would reach first base on the horrible throwing error by Will Safford. A single by Morrison would put runners on first and second before a Marenco ground out to end the 3rd inning...
Dylan Crews would leadoff the 4th with a triple, setting up the Tigers with a great opportunity to get something on the scoreboard. But from there the LSU bats would go cold.
Dugas and Stanford would both be recorded outs before Cade Doughty would draw a base on balls. Will Safford would get hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Giovanni DiGiacomo would then launch a ball deep to center field, but Guthrie Morrison would make an outstanding running catch to steal a big play and end the LSU scoring threat.
The Zags went quietly in the bottom of the 4th, as they would send only four hitters to the plate, leaving a runner
stranded on base. We would head to the 5th inning with Gonzaga still ahead, 2-0.
LSU would remain scoreless in the top of the 5th. Tre' Morgan would manage a two out single, then steal second base safely, but Dylan Crews would strike out swinging to leave him stranded on base...
The Zags would manage to put runners on first and second with one out, before Marceaux would force Morrison to ground into a double play to take us to the 6th inning.
Alek Jacob would continue to pitch well, taking care of the LSU hitters quickly with another three up-three down inning..
Paul Mainieri decided to pull Landon Marceuax after facing three batters in the bottom of the 6th, striking out two and issuing a base on balls. Jacob Hasty would take the mound for the Tigers.
Ernie Yake would take a base on balls against Hasty before Brett Harris would single to score Machtolf from second. Yake would then get thrown out trying to take second base to end the inning.. We would head to the 7th inning with Gonzaga in control of the contest, 3-0.
LSU's struggles at the plate would continue as Jacob seemed to get stronger on the mound as he went deeper into the ballgame, owning the Tiger hitters. Three up-three down quickly...
Trent Vietmeier would enter the game in the 7th and struggle with every pitch early. With runners on first and second and only one out, Vietmeier would dig down deep and strike out the next two Gonzaga hitters to get out of the inning.
Jacob would continue his dominance with another one-two-three inning against the LSU hitters...
Paul Mainieri would decide to go with Ty Floyd to start the 8th inning. It looked like Floyd would cruise through the inning
after striking out the first two Bulldog hitters, but after walking Ernie Yake he would begin to struggle from the stretch. Floyd would finally record the final out, getting Rando to fly out to right field with runners on the corners.
LSU heads into their final at bat trailing 3-0, but a red hot Alek Jacob would finish with a complete game, once again easily handling the LSU hitters, three up-three down, sending the Tigers into the losers bracket with the Zag's victory...
“It was obviously a very disappointing outcome for our team,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Of course, the story of the game was their pitcher; we just couldn’t solve him. He has such a unique style of pitching, and we haven’t faced a guy like that all year. We worked hard all week to try to prepare for this kid, but he’s done this to everyone he’s pitched against all year.
“Landon pitched his heart out, and they were very scrappy team offensively. They were very difficult to strike out, they put some balls in play, and they were able to scratch across a few runs.”
LSU (34-23) will meet Central Connecticut State in a elimination game at 3 p.m. CT Saturday. Senior right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard will be LSU’s starting pitcher on Saturday.