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June 9, 2012

Katz's hit wins game one

Mason Katz, who had been mired in a NCAA tournament slump, foiled Stony Brook's strategy in the bottom of the 12th inning Saturday morning.

With first base open, Seawolves coach Matt Senk ordered JaCoby Jones intentionally walked to get to Katz.

That plan backfired as Katz lined a single to left field to give LSU a 5-4 victory in the first game of the Baton Rouge Super-Regional at The Box.

The Tigers (47-16) can earn a trip to the College World Series by defeating Stony Brook in the regularly scheduled game which is set to begin later this morning. The first game had been suspended by rain after 11 innings Friday afternoon.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri opted to go with Kevin Gausman, the starter for the second game of the series, when play resumed Saturday morning. Gausman retired the Seawolves (50-13) in order on fly balls to Raph Rhymes in left field and Katz in center fielder and a strikeout.

Stony Brook brought in its closer Frankie Vanderka in the bottom of the 12th. Tyler Moore, who hit a home run in the 10th to tie the score at 3-3, opened the inning with a pop-fly single to center field. Austin Nola bunted Moore to second base.

Jones, who homered in the ninth inning to tie the score at 2-2, was then intentionally walked. Katz, who had tied the score at 4-4 with a home run in the 11th, lined the first pitch from Vanderka for the game-winning hit. Katz was 1-for-14 in the NCAA tournament before hitting the home run Friday.

"When Nola came up with a guy on first, coach (Mainieri) turned to me and JaCoby and said 'one of you drive the run in.' I said 'if (Jones) doesn't, I will.' They intentionally walked JaCoby and tried to get a double-play ball. I was going to do my best to drive something in the gap.

"In that situation, I was not going to hit into a double play. I wanted to get something early in the count to hit. (Vanderka) has a great curve ball. He threw me a curve ball and left it up in the zone. That was it."

The Tigers are now 8-0 in NCAA tournament games. This game was the second longest game by innings in LSU NCAA tournament history. The Tigers defeated Tulane 4-3 in 13 innings in a super-regional game at Zephyr Field in 2001.


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