Oregon State ends LSU’s season with another rout
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Whatever best-case scenario LSU dared dream up for the NCAA baseball tournament tried to take into account that the Tigers might run out of pitching.
It surely didn’t figure on the bats turning to ice and the gloves to stone.
So, you had worst case scenario: Oregon State 12, LSU 0.
End of pipe dream.
End of regional.
End of season.
And it wasn’t pretty.
“I wish we had been more competitive in the games,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “But they deserved it.
“They obviously have a much better team than we did this year. They beat us fair and square.”
At times the thin, patched-together pitching staff looked to be the least of the Tigers problems as they managed just three hits and got sloppy in the field with far more miscues than the pair of errors they were charged with.
“Of course it’s hard to win a ball game when you get three hits and dont’ score any runs,” Mainieri said. “We just didn’t have it in us today against their team. They just totally outplayed us.”
The Beavers had 14 hits and played flawless defense, often spectacular, in routing the Tigers for the second straight night.
So Oregon State (47-10-1), the No. 3 national seed, advanced to the super regional round, where it will host Minnesota later this week.
They took a little revenge along the way, with the memory that LSU eliminanted the Beavers with back-to-back victories in the College World Series a year ago when OSU was seeded No. 1 in Omaha.
LSU (39-27), which stayed alive earlier Sunday with a five-run, ninth-inning rally to beat Northwestern State 9-5, heads home from its longest road trip in program history.
Nothing went right, beginning with a first base bag turned into the Bermuda Triangle.
It was bad luck when a routine chopper that would have been the third out hit the bag and ricocheted into right center to extend a one-run first inning to a three-spot for the Beavers — starter Devin Fontenot needed 42 pitches to get through the inning.
It was bad play when the Tigers botched two plays at the bag in the second, which led to two unearned runs and a 5-0 OSU lead.
And it forced Mainieri to pull Fontenot before getting an out in the second.
“We were just short on arms,” Mainieri said. “Fontenot gave it every thing he had. The ump had a very tight strike zone and he was getting a little frustrated.”
“Obviously, we got fortunate there with the cue ball that hit the base there,” said Oregon State coach Pat Casey said, who was well aware of LSU’s limited options on the mound. “But we were going to be aggressive, we were going to force their hand, get pitching counts up.”
His own starter Kevin Abel cruised through eight-plus innings while stacking zeros on the scoreboard.
The Tigers had some hard outs and some warning track teasers, but for seven innings until Lake Charles’ Beau Jordan lined a solid shot to rightfield in his final at-bat as a Tiger, the only LSU base hit was an infield nubber by Brandt Broussard in the third.
He was lifted when Zach Watson led off the ninth with the Tigers’ third hit.
None of them amounted to anything.
“For me, he was mixing his pitches very well with a plus changeup and plus breaking ball you really had to respect,” LSU’s Austin Bain said. “Mixing and locating very well.”
Bain, the LSU DH, took a turn on the mound and, inheriting a 6-0 deficit, stopped the bleeding with two scorless inning before it unraveled on him with a four-run sixth ining.
“They have a great ball club, no weakness, very veteran team,” Mainieri said. “A lot of experience. Very talented team.”