Da Boot Sports
By: Jason Watson Jr.
OMAHA, NE- The road to redemption has officially started. LSU has defeated Florida and takes Game one of the College World Series championship with a 4-3 victory in an 11 inning duel.
Ty Floyd fever was the highlight story of the game as he delivered a historic performance dishing out 17 strikeouts and only giving up five hits through eight innings pitched.
In a game that could have gone either way, the Tigers have to feel lucky to have escaped with a victory after leaving 16 runners on base and a lineup finishing 1-12 with RISP.
Pitching from the starter and bullpen were dominant once again for LSU as they held on to win in a nailbiter.
"Great college baseball game. Two of the best teams in the country, a ton of execution by both teams from the mound. Great defensive plays. Really good, quality at-bats." Jay Johnson said. "Ty was outstanding tonight. Really hard to put into words what that performance meant for the outcome of the game and for our team. I think the eighth inning was the turning point, getting through the eighth, sending him back out there against their best hitters and striking out the side was amazing. Riley obviously did what Riley's done here and executed at a high level. Really proud of him for getting through that first and second one-out, I believe it was in the tenth with Langford and Caglianone. And offensively we did a lot of things right. Getting Sproat out before the fifth inning was a good job by our team. He's going to be a high draft pick. And we executed really well there. Hit into tough luck with the bases loaded there with Tommy lining to third base. I thought that was a good at-bat. Sproat did a nice job wiggling out of it where we might have been able to add some on early. But we stayed with it. And Tommy and Cade getting those swings were outstanding. On to tomorrow."
The Tigers drew first blood in the top of the 1st inning as they were able to drive home Dylan Crews on an RBI single accredited to Cade Beloso.
A deflating top half of the second came to a close when LSU left the bases loaded and had scored zero runs to display for it.
A 3rd inning lead-off homerun from Gavin Dugas doubled the Tiger lead in one swing of the bat, but that would be all to come across the plate as the Tigers stranded two more in scoring position.
The Gators were able to produce their first run of the game in the bottom half of the frame. With a man on first, Florida’s Wyatt Langford hit a high flying double out to right center field, putting men on second and third. Ty Floyd escaped the inning giving up just one run off a groundout before retiring the side. 2-1 Tigers.
While the Tigers kept Florida’s pitch count ticking up early on, there were a limited number of runs on the scoreboard. LSU, through four innings, had left 10 men on base including seven in range of scoring.
Florida would pull their starting pitcher and bring in Cade Fisher for relief after a walk to start the 5th inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Gator outfielder, Ty Evans was able to tie the ballgame when he came home. After leading off the stint with a double to left, Evans scored off a groundout that was bobbled by Dugas, making the score 2-2.
A Tommy White single to lead off the 6th was not enough to aid the offensive woes for the Tigers. Two more runners left on base elevated the total to 13, a stat looming large in the low scoring contest.
Floyd gave up his first major mistake of his outing when he allowed B.T. Riopelle to rip a two out homer to right field over the fence, giving the Gators a one run lead heading to the 7th inning. 3-2, Gators.
Dylan Crews led off the top of the 8th inning for the Tigers with a groundout to short. White stepped up to the plate and hammered an 0-2 count breaking ball to deep left field. Tommy Tanks did it again and played hero for LSU, this time to tie the game at three runs apiece.
A one out single to left field from Tre’ Morgan led Kevin O’Sullivan to make a pitching change late in the game. Right hander, Brandon Neely came in to pitch and was able to retire the side quietly.
Two more strikeouts for Ty Floyd and LSU closed out the side for Florida in the eighth, sending the game to the 9th and final inning of regulation baseball.
The 7-8-9 order of the lineup was due for the Tigers in the ninth, and a quick up and down string of at bats was all they could muster.
Riley Cooper began the bottom of the frame in an attempt to close out the game. Cooper allowed a runner to work himself into scoring position for the Gators, but a crucial strikeout ended the side and guaranteed extras in Game 1 of the College World Series finals.
With one out in the top of the 10th, Dylan Crews took a full count walk and advanced to second base off a wild pitch before Florida decided not to pitch at Tommy White again and opted for the intentional walk. Tre’ Morgan would pop out and Dugas, a fly out, once again, stranding two on base with Crews in scoring position.
Florida threatened in the bottom of the inning, but to no avail. Josh Pearson leapt into the air and took away a would-be game winning hit from Langford as runners stood on first and second. Cooper forced a pop out to retire the side.
Tommy White on Thursday, and now Cade Beloso on Saturday. Beloso delivered a signature “belly bomb” to lead off the top of the 11th frame to put LSU up 4-3 and send the Gators down to their final three outs.
A full count flyout from Josh Rivera proved to be the first out in the bottom half. A Riley Cooper strikeout sent LSU fans into a ruckus as the Tigers became one out away from victory. 1-2 count… Strike 3! Cooper delivered again in the clutch, getting the punchout. LSU wins the ballgame and is now just one win away from winning their 7th College World Series championship.
Game two of the final series will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm CST. And as always… Geaux Tigers!
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