OMAHA, Nebraska — It was a night of redemption for Gavin Guidry.
LSU’s freshman pitcher came out of the bullpen Wednesday night in an immensely difficult spot — one even more daunting than the one he had previously faced in the team’s College World Series opener on Saturday.
More on that disappointing debut a little later.
During Wednesday night’s contest against top seed Wake Forest, LSU entered the seventh inning holding a three-run lead.
That advantage was quickly put in jeopardy as middle reliever Griffin Herring started the frame by giving up a leadoff single and then promptly hit the next batter.
The Demon Deacons had two on with no outs, and the tying run in cleanup hitter Brock Wilken strolling to the plate. Not an optimal situation for any relief pitcher, much less a true freshman, but that is exactly when Guidry got the call and started making his way to the mound at Charles Schwab Field.
And this time around he didn’t disappoint.
The former Barbe High star stood tall and struck out Wilken on three pitches, then got out of the inning with another strikeout — this one of Justin Johnson. Guidry not only helped get the Tigers out of the jam, he helped them earn a 5-2 victory that moved LSU one win away from advancing to the national championship series this coming weekend. This evening at 6, the two teams that held the game’s No. 1 ranking this season square off once more, with a berth in the CWS championship series on the line.
Wouldn’t be happening if not for a great bounceback performance by Guidry.
Four nights earlier, he was called out of the bullpen in front of 25,000 fans to relieve Paul Skenes. LSU’s All-American had pitched masterfully but had just given up an RBI single in the top of the eighth against Tennessee.
So Johnson turned to Guidry to come in and get the final out of the inning, preserving a four-run advantage.
The confidence had been justly earned as he became one of the few guys in the bullpen that Johnson trusted, particularly during the Southeastern Conference Tournament and the NCAA Regional and NCAA Super Regional.
Which is why the first arm Johnson called for out of the bullpen was Guidry.
His CWS debut though was a brief one — like one-pitch brief.
The first pitch he threw back on Saturday night got out of the ballpark in a hurry as it sailed over the center field wall for a two-run home run that cut LSU’s lead down to two runs.
Guidry was immediately pulled and had to wait four days to get a shot at redemption — and boy did he deliver.
That’s not to say that Guidry was perfect on Wednesday.
After getting a quick two outs to start the eighth, Guidry gave up back-to-back singles and was promptly pulled for Riley Cooper. who went on to earn the save.
Guidry may not have been perfect but he did redeem himself, restored his confidence and most importantly, helped LSU move one win away from playing for its seventh national championship. The last time LSU did that was in 2017 when the program lost in the title series to the Florida Gators — who clinched their spot in the title series earlier on Wednesday.
That means there could be another redemption story written in Omaha in the coming days, one that Guidry could very well have a hand in penning.
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