Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tigers Win Regional; Other Regional Notes

LSU swept through the Baton Rouge regional by cruising to an easy 10-3 victory over Minnesota on Sunday night. The Tigers weren't without some drama over the weekend though. Southern stymied LSU's offense for 6 innings on Friday before LSU busted out for 10 runs. Then against Baylor on Saturday night, LSU needed 10 innings to secure a 3-2 victory.

Over the last two weekends, this team has started to display the post-season moxie that Tiger baseball fans have become accustomed to over the last 20 years. We saw three truly outstanding performances by LSU's starting pitchers. They had a combined stat line of:

23.1 IP 15 H 32 K 4 ER 1.54 ERA

Simply put, that is incredibly good. Heading into Super Regional play and hopefully the College World Series, you couldn't ask for better performances from your starting pitchers. The highlight was Anthony Ranaudo's (pictured) 9 inning, 14 strikeout performance on Saturday.

Aside from Ranaudo, another weekend highlight was freshman shortstop Austin Nola, who delivered the key hit in both LSU's win against Southern and Baylor. Nola delivered when the team needed him, and he's starting to hit the ball a lot better.

It's also interesting to note that LSU is now 21-4 since Austin Nola was inserted into the starting lineup.

Looking at other regional action, there's still a lot to be determined. At the time I'm writing this, only LSU, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Arkansas, TCU and Florida State have advanced to the Super Regionals. The following games Monday will decide who advances:

East Carolina vs. South Carolina
Georgia Tech vs. Southern Miss
Rice vs. Kansas State (winner faces LSU)
Ole Miss vs. Western Kentucky
Clemson vs. Oklahoma State
Vanderbilt vs. Louisville

Some games were still underway or about to start when I wrote this. The games still in question are Arizona State vs. Oral Roberts, Virgina vs. UC Irvine, and Cal State Fullerton vs. Utah. Fullerton is leading BIG in the 6th inning however.

Some notable items from the weekend of regional play are:

- The success of the SEC. LSU, Arkansas, and Florida have already punched their ticket to the Super Regional while South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss will play on Monday to try and earn their way.

- Texas and Boston College played in the "marble game" of the Austin regional on Saturday night...and Sunday morning. The game was tied 2-2 after 9 innings, so they had to play extra innings...14 of them. After 25 innings, Texas finally pushed a run across and won the game 3-2. That was the longest game in NCAA Tournament history.

- Florida State played Ohio State Sunday with a trip to the Super Regionals on the line. They did not struggle. At all. The final score? Florida State 37 Ohio State 6.

Once it's determined who LSU's opponent in the Super Regionals will be, I'll do a full preview.


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