Da Boot Sports
By: Jason Watson Jr.
OMAHA, NE- LSU baseball made its return to the College World Series with a 6-3 victory versus conference foe, Tennessee, Saturday night. This marks the first time the Tigers have made it to Charles Schwab field since 2017, a year in which they finished as runners-up to Florida in the championship series.
Pitcher and 2023 Dick Howser trophy recipient, Paul Skenes, was dominant against the Vols’ lineup, notching 12 strikeouts through 7.2 innings pitched. He demonstrated excellent command and showed off the velocity, allowing just five hits and one earned run with one walk. Over the course of 123 pitches, Skenes reached over 100mph with his fastball more than 40 times.
Second baseman, Gavin Dugas, helped the Tigers strike first in the bottom of the 2nd inning with a one out, solo home run (412 ft.)
The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the 3rd, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd base with just one out. Tre’ Morgan aided LSU with a ground out RBI that brought Josh Pearson home, making the score 2-0. Dylan Crews was left stranded on third after a groundout from catcher, Hayden Travinski.
The bottom of the 4th began to look very similar after outfielder, Brayden Jobert doubled, sending Dugas to 3rd. Cade Beloso struck out looking, and following an early pitching change from Tennessee, Pearson went down swinging to end the inning, stranding two Tigers in scoring position.
After an uneventful 5th inning, and a 1-2-3 top of the 6th from the Volunteers, LSU scored again.
Travinski led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Halvorsen (Tenn.) before Dugas went down swinging. Jobert responded with a triple off the wall and earned an RBI while rounding the bases. Short Stop, Jordan Thompson, followed that up with a single, sending the runner home as the Tigers took a 4-0 lead.
L-S-U chants began raining down in Omaha and Tennessee was forced to switch pitchers once again, leading Pearson to strike out, ending the inning.
Skenes struck out two more Vols’ batters in the top of the 7th while giving up his first walk of the evening.
Dylan Crews began the bottom side with a double out to right field. Third baseman Tommy White, singled in the lineup before Crews made it home off a SAC fly from Morgan. 5-0 Tigers. Beloso came up to bat with two outs and walked.
Dugas, who started the scoring in the game, thought he had another LSU homer, but left the ball just short allowing it to be snagged at the warning track.
What seemed like a sure win late, suddenly had become a drama-filled ending.
In the top of the 8th inning, Tennessee, with a man on second, got a single through the infield to score their first run of the night. The score stood 5-1, and Jay Johnson had decided Skenes’ evening was through. Johnson went to the pen for Gavin Guidry to close the game… or so he thought.
Guidry came in and delivered one pitch to the Vols before being pulled in favor of Riley Cooper. That one pitch was swung on and homered deep to left center by Hunter Ensley (Tenn.), driving across 2 more runs making the score 5-3.
The Tennessee dugout and fans had gained life in one swing of the bat, but Brayden Jobert silenced them quickly in the bottom of the inning.
Jobert led off with a solo shot to right field giving the Tigers breathing room pushing their lead to three. That would prove to be all for scoring. Jobert would go on to finish just a single shy of hitting for the cycle in the game.
Tennessee got all that they could handle and were unable to muster any comeback as Cooper dealt two strikeouts and earned the save having caught the final line out of the game as LSU defeated the Volunteers 6-3.
LSU will now face Wake Forest in the 1-0 game Monday at 6:00pm CST. Tennessee will fall to the losers’ bracket and play Stanford in a elimination game.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! GEAUX TIGERS!!
*John 14:6 - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior)
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