HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The LSU baseball team’s NCAA Tournament weekend had two major comebacks, but the No. 2 seed Tigers couldn’t punch their ticket to the NCAA Super Regional on Sunday as host Southern Miss forced an if-necessary game with an 8-4 win.
The Tigers (40-21) and Golden Eagles (46-17) will play today at 3 p.m. to decide the regional winner.
After playing from behind in its first tournament games, LSU couldn’t hold a pair of two-run leads as the No. 1 seed Golden Eagles plated the final six runs.
The Tigers began with a Cade Doughty two-run home run in the first inning, which Southern Miss answered with a pair of runs off starter Samuel Dutton.
LSU snatched a two-run lead again in the third inning with a Doughty (2-4, 3 RBIs) RBI-single and run scored on a passed ball.
But USM responded again in the bottom of the third, plating a pair on RBIs from Slade Wilks and Danny Lynch to tie the score 4-4. LSU reliever Riley Cooper stopped the bleeding by recording the final two outs with the bases loaded, but no offensive calvary would be coming Sunday.
The Golden Eagles scored three runs in the sixth inning off reliever Eric Reyzelman, who allowed the first two home on a wild pitch and a balk.
After USM starter Matthew Adams lasted just two innings, the Golden Eagles bullpen went the rest of the way, not allowing a run.
Justin Storm (3-0) struck out seven in five innings with just two hits to finish off LSU and keep USM’s season alive with its second win Sunday after eliminating Kennesaw State 4-3 in 10 innings.
FRIDAY: LSU 14, Kennesaw State 11
LSU was staring at a seven-run deficit with two innings remaining after four straight scoreless innings against the Kennesaw State pitching staff.
An offensive explosion didn’t appear to be in the making, but the Tigers unleashed a 10-run eighth inning to come back for the win against the No. 3 seed Eagles.
LSU’s first seven batters reached base without an out to begin a frame with seven hits and four free passes (three walks and one hit-by-pitch) total.
Consecutive RBI hits by Jacob Berry, Josh Pearson and Jordan Thompson plated the first three runs to chase reliever Jack Myers (seven runs in 5 1-3 innings).
Tre’ Morgan singled in another pair of runs followed by a Brayden Jobert RBI to close to 11-9 on Kennesaw State.
Dylan Crews and Pearson plated the final four runs to close out the offensive onslaught.
All 10 runs were scored with just one out.
SATURDAY: LSU 7, Southern Miss 6
One day later, the Tigers faced a four-run hole in the ninth inning against host Southern Miss.
The Tigers scored four in the ninth and then supplied the winning run on a Josh Pearson chopper up the middle of the infield with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Trailing 6-2 entering the ninth, Crews started the scoring with a solo home run, his 22nd this season.
But the Tigers had two outs with no runners on base before the next four batters supplied three runs to tie the game.
Pearson singled before Cade Doughty smashed a two-run home run, both on two-strike counts.
LSU manufactured the last run after Tre’ Morgan was hit by a pitch, and pinch runner stole second base before Jordan Thompson singled him in.
Southern Miss plated four early runs against starter Ty Floyd. The Tigers bullpen allowed two runs over four innings with Paul Gervase (4-1) pitching a perfect 10th inning for the win.
Photo courtesy of USM