Solid defense and consistent hitting powered third-seeded LSU to a seven-inning “mercy rule” victory in their first appearance in the 2014 SEC baseball tournament, vanquishing Vanderbilt 11-1. According to SEC tournament rules, if a team leads by 10 after seven innings, the game is called.
The Tigers roared at the plate, registering 15 hits as Alex Bregman, Connor Hale, and Mark Laird each went 3-for-4 on the day. Bregman also led the Bayou Bengals with 5 RBI, aided by a three-run home run in the fourth inning that broke open a close ballgame and gave LSU a 5-1 lead.
The Tiger bats assaulted the scoreboard consistently all day long, scoring runs in five of the game’s seven innings and, in triggering the 10-run rule, helped starting pitcher Jared Poché insure a rested and fresh Tiger bullpen for the remainder of the tournament. Poché (9-3) collected the win and a complete game, going all seven innings. The freshman left-hander allowed only five hits and one run while striking out three.
The last time LSU forced an SEC tournament opponent off the field with the run-rule was in 2009 when they defeated Georgia 16-0 in eight innings. Meanwhile, the last time the tournament enforced the run-rule overall, Vanderbilt was the beneficiary. The Commodores beat Georgia 10-0 in seven innings in 2011.
For Vanderbilt, the 10-run defeat marked the largest losing margin in its SEC tournament history.
In the wake of their dominant win, LSU (41-14-1) advances to face seventh-seeded Arkansas (37-21) in the winners’ bracket of the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama. Arkansas has already notched two tournament wins in 2014, eliminating Texas A&M on Tuesday 4-0 before frustrating Ole Miss Wednesday afternoon 2-1.
First pitch between the Tigers and the Razorbacks is set for 4:30 Thursday afternoon. Full coverage on WWL AM & FM begins at 4pm with the pregame show.
Six-seed Vanderbilt (41-17) and two-seed Ole Miss (40-17) will play in an elimination game at 9:30 Thursday morning.