Da Boot Sports
By: Jason Watson Jr.
OMAHA, NE- A pivotal matchup between the team with the lowest earned run average and the team with the most total earned runs in Division I baseball was on display at the Charles Schwab diamond Monday night.
#1 Wake Forest and #5 LSU duked it out in the winners’ bracket game with the Tigers being handed the loss by a score of 3-2.
After a slow start from both teams, LSU broke the ice in the top of the 3rd inning. With one out and Josh Pearson standing on second base, Tommy White singled up the middle to bring home the runner. Tre’ Morgan then delivered a huge RBI triple that went over the left fielder’s head as he lost the ball in the sun. That proved to be all for the Tigers, but not before making the score 2-0.
Wake Forest tried to get something going with a lead off single in the 4th inning, the Deacons’ first hit of the game. An errant pitch that got away from Travinski allowed the runner to advance to 2nd and was in scoring position. Ty Floyd had other plans. The right-handed junior then struck out the next three batters in order which brought his total to 8 K’s on the night.
Things were quiet through the 5th inning, but the Demon Deacons were given a
golden opportunity in the bottom half of the 6th. Ty Floyd walked three straight batters to load the bases for Wake Forest with no outs. Jay Johnson had seen enough and brought in Thatcher Hurd in relief. Floyd finished with four walks and 10 strikeouts on the night.
A strongly hit ball up the middle allowed one run to come across making the score 2-1 Tigers, but kept the bases loaded. Shortstop, Justin Johnson, grounded into an important double play, but was enough for another run to score, tying things up. After a HBP and a walk from Hurd, the bases were once again loaded. A huge swinging strikeout ended the inning and got LSU out of a jam with a whole new ballgame on the horizon.
Cole Roland came in to replace Wake Forest’s Josh Hartle to begin the 7th inning. After delivering 2 strikeouts, he was pulled for redshirt junior righty Reed Mascolo, who was able to retire the side.
LSU’s pitching walked the lead off man of the home side and got two quick pop outs
before walking yet another Deacon. Runners stood on first and second, a base hit away from taking the lead, but Hurd delivered the punch out, keeping the score tied at 2 heading to the 8th.
Both teams were in search of a momentum shift, and Tre’ Morgan produced just that. One pitch and one swing gave the Tigers a lead off runner of their own, this by way of a double out right. Morgan then made it to third base and Travinski to first off of an infield error from the second baseman. Cade Beloso then grounded into a fielder’s choice at 3rd base, with Morgan getting called out at home on a bang-bang play.
Camden Minacci came in to pitch for Wake Forest, and forced Gavin Dugas to chop one into
a double play leaving two LSU runners stranded; A real missed opportunity for Jay Johnson’s group.
Wake Forest turned the tides with a one out double putting a runner in scoring position. Catcher Bennett Lee came up big for the Demon Deacons with an RBI single out to left field, making the score 3-2 and giving the 2nd lead change of the night. Two strikeouts would go on to end the inning.
Down to their final three outs, LSU’s Brayden Jobert was due up, leading off the 9th. Minacci caught him looking for the first out of the inning. Jordan Thompson then went down swinging. Josh Pearson looked to give the Tigers a last gasp hope, but a chopper right back to the pitcher was easily delivered to 1st base and recorded the final out of the game.
A total of 13 batters were struck out by Wake Forest for the game, and most notably Dylan Crews, finished 0-3 on the night with 2 strikeouts and a walk.
LSU will fall to 1-1, suffering their first loss of the NCAA tournament.
They will play against Tennessee Tuesday night at 6:00pm CST in an elimination game.
Wake Forest rises to 2-0 and will await the winner of LSU-Tenn.
Tough loss and a tall mountain to climb, but as always… Geaux Tigers!
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