They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but with LSU baseball, the watching world has learned that nothing is off the table.
In yet another game for the ages, LSU knocked off regional host Southern Miss 7-6, fueled by a four-run comeback in the ninth. The game was yet another example of how great baseball can be. A sport with no clock and no easy way out, baseball can create moments like the last two nights that are hard to find anywhere else.
“It was a great night for college baseball, a great night for our team and a great night for our program. I’m proud of the players again. We said it yesterday and we have this saying that there’s no clock in baseball. No team has probably exhibited that better than our team here in the last two days. I’m proud of the competitive fight,” Head Coach Jay Johnson said after the game.
LSU struggled to find offense for most of the game, being shut down by the impressive Hurston Waldrep from Southern Miss. Waldrep pitched 6.2 innings, striking out 11 LSU batters and completely shutting the Tiger offense down after the seventh inning. He was not quite able to finish the game though, which left the door open for LSU.
“[Hurston] Waldrep for Southern Miss was outstanding today. We faced Chase Dollander from Tennessee last Friday night – those two guys are easily the best two pitchers we’ve seen the entire year. I’m glad we got him out of the game at 119 pitches and these guys to my left and my right just took big time professional at bats to have a great night,” Johnson said.
Garrett Ramsey came in for Southern Miss in the ninth inning to close it out, but that is where for the second night in a row, the magic happened for LSU. It started with a solo home run from Dylan Crews that was absolutely crushed over the left field scoreboard. Then three batters later, Cade Doughty’s two-run shot had LSU firmly within the striking distance down just one with two outs. Tre’ Morgan was hit by a pitch and then Jordan Thompson, after fighting through a long at bat, brought home Drew Bianco who was pinch-running for Morgan to tie the game at six.
“There’s a lot of guys that I would love to have in these spots, but this is the guy,” Johnson said of Thompson. “This is the most mentally tough guy on our team and in our program hands down. When he came up last night my heartbeat wasn’t even moving. I knew we were going to be ahead in a minute-and-a half. When Jordan [Thompson] came up, I called down to the bullpen to make sure Paul Gervase was ready to go because the game was going to be tied.”
Gervase shut down Southern Miss in the top of the 10th, giving LSU a chance to win it in the bottom half of the inning. The Tigers were not going to pass up this chance and a bases loaded single up the middle by Josh Pearson is what completed the wild comeback for the second straight night.
“Coach just told me to stay in my approach and do what I’ve been doing all year,” Pearson said. “I was just trying to put a ball through the infield going up there or hit a sac fly in the outfield. It got the job done and that’s all I was trying to do.”
That win sets the Tigers up perfectly as they now move on to the Regional Championship where they will play either Southern Miss or Kennesaw State. LSU will still have to lose twice in order to be eliminated, creating an ideal scenario just needing one win in two games. Game one of potentially two games is set to start at 6 p.m. and will be streaming live on ESPN+.