Deke: Tigers take care of business in win over Cougars
by Deke Bellavia,posted May 31 2014 10:05PM
Two down and one to go for the LSU Tigers baseball team! LSU squared off against the Houston Cougars in the fourth game of the Baton Rouge Regional, and both teams were coming off wins, setting up a show down in the winner's bracket. The Tigers handled their business with a 5-1 win over the Cougars. The Tigers now just need to win one more game to advance and host next weekend’s Super Regional in Baton Rouge.
Ace Aaron Nola started the game for the Tigers on the mound. Nola is as close to a sure thing that there ever has been in LSU baseball history. For a program that has won six national titles, not many have been as dominant and near perfect. In his seven plus inning pitched the Tigers Ace allowed one run on four hits and he struck out seven Cougars before leaving the mound to the roar of a standing ovation at Alex Box Stadium. Zac Person came in to take over for Nola.
After going up and down in order in the first inning, LSU’s Conner Hale hit a single up the middle for an RBI, as McMullen came home to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead over the Cougars.
The Cougars would tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, and looked as if they were going to do more damage. The Cougars had bases loaded, but Tigers shortstop Alex Bregman made a nice catch to end the threat, leaving the scored tied at 1-1.
The Tigers then came up to bat in the third with the top of the LSU order coming to the plate. LSU would get off to a good start in the inning, as Mark Laird drew a walk to give the Tigers a man on base.
Alex Bregman did his job advancing Laird on a deep fly ball, and then Jake Fraley hit a single to advance Laird to third base, followed by another Single from Sean McMullen to score Laird and the Tigers took a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers would add to their lead when Connor Hale drove in Sean McMullen on a single, as LSU increased their lead to 3-1 in the top of the third inning. Tigers pitcher Aaron Nola got into a nice groove as he retired seven straight Cougars during the Tigers hot stretch in which LSU built a lead.
49 of Nola’s first 72 pitches were strikes. With LSU leading 3-1, Aaron Nola would get into a groove that not many pitchers can ever find. Nola entered a stretch in which he retired 13 of 14 batters to help protect the Tigers' two run lead.
With the “Nola” factor in full effect, the Tigers threatened to blow the game wide open in the seventh inning. Christian Ibarra would single, followed by a walk by Kramer Robertson, giving LSU runners on first and second.
The Tigers started to roll! Mark Laird would step to the plate and hit a single for LSU as Ibarra scored putting the Tigers up 4-1. Then Alex Bregman would single scoring Kramer Robertson and LSU increased their lead to 5-1 with just one out in the top half of the seventh inning.
Aaron Nola would then continue another masterful performance as the nation’s best pitcher, shutting down Cougar after Cougar. In five of the first seven innings Nola pitched, he would sit down each Cougar in order 1-2-3.
Seeing things get out of hand, the Cougars went to their bullpen to make a pitching change. Matt Locus would come in the game to pitch for Houston. Locus had the task of trying to work Houston out of a jam with his club down 5-1 and the Tigers fans roaring loud and proud in front of an overflow crowd at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers would maintain their four-run lead and go on to beat Houston 5-1. Joe Broussard closed the game in relief for the Tigers. The Tigers had 12 hits in their win over the Cougars. LSU picked up their 46th win of the season and will now face the winner of the Houston versus Southeastern Game tomorrow night at 7PM right here on WWL Radio.