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May 31, 2014

Rewind: LSU 5, Houston 1

Aaron Nola allowed four hits while pitching into the eighth inning as LSU advanced to the championship round of the Baton Rouge Regional with a 5-1 victory against Houston on Saturday night at The Box.


HOW THEY SCORED
LSU second inning - Sean McMullen doubled and scored on a single by Conner Hale. LSU 1, HOUSTON 0

Houston second inning - Justin Montemayor reached on a bunt single. Montemayor moved to second on a ground out to second baseman Kramer Robertson by Connor Hollis. Montemayor went to third on a ground out to the first baseman Hale by Frankie Ratcliffe. Montemayor scored on a single by Michael Pyeatt. LSU 1, HOUSTON 1

LSU third inning - Mark Laird walked and moved to second on a fly out to the centerfielder by Alex Bregman. Laird advanced to third on a single by Jake Fraley. Laird scored on a single by McMullen. After Fraley was thrown out at third base on a missed hit-and-run, McMullen scored on a single by Hale. LSU 3, HOUSTON 1

LSU seventh inning - Christian Ibarra singled and Robertson walked. Ibarra scored on a single by Laird. Robertson scored on a single by Bregman. LSU 5, HOUSTON 1


LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Fourth inning - Andrew Stevenson doubled. Stevenson was thrown out at third on a bunt by Ibarra. Robertson hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Eighth inning - With two out, Stevenson and Ibarra singled. Robertson struck out.


TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Hale got LSU off to a quick start with run-scoring singles in both the second and third innings. Hale singled home McMullen, who had doubled, to put the Tigers in front 1-0 in the second. His two-out single in the third again brought home McMullen to give LSU a 3-1 lead. Hale, who flied out in his next two at-bats, had gone 0-for-7 in the previous two games.

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STARTING PITCHER
Nola had just one difficult inning - the second when Houston scored its run. A two-out single by Pyeatt brought in the run which tied the score at 1-1. The Cougars then loaded the bases on a single by Caleb Barker and Nola's only walk of the game. Nola retired Kyle Survance on a pop up in foul territory to the shortstop Bregman, who made an outstanding running catch. Houston only had one other batter reach base off Nola, who was replaced with one out in the eighth. Landon Appling singled in the fifth. He moved around to third base before Nola struck out Josh Vidales. Nola, who finished with seven strikeouts, retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced. Nola, who won his 11th game of the season, now has 30 career victories. He is tied with Pat Moock, Chad Ogea and Mike Sirotka for fifth place on the all-time school list. Paul Byrd, who has 31 victories, is the only pitcher in LSU history to have more victories than Nola in three seasons.


BULLPEN
Zac Person and Joe Broussard recorded the final five outs. Person got into a little trouble in the eighth as he walked Vidales and gave up a single by Casey Grayson with two out. Person struck out Montemayor to end the inning. Broussard had a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout.

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NOTES
Robertson got the start at second base - just his third in May. Hale was the first baseman. Fraley was in leftfield with McMullen the designated hitter. With Nola pitching, Tyler Moore was the catcher. . . Stevenson had a double and two singles - his first multiple-hit game since May 21 against Vanderbilt. Stevenson was 2-for-16 since that game against the Commodores. . .Ibarra snapped a long hitting slump with a pair of singles. Ibarra's last multiple-hit game came April 25 against Tennessee. He was 6-for-48 since that game against the Volunteers. . .McMullen extended his hitting streak to six games with his second-inning double. He also singled in a run in the third. . .Laird also extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the seventh. . .Fraley has now hit safely in four consecutive games. . .Moore and Robertson were the only Tigers starters without a hit. . .Houston starter Jake Lemoine allowed five runs and ten hits in 6.1 innings. . .LSU stranded seven runners, three in scoring position. The Tigers were 6-for-9 with runners in scoring position. . .No Houston batter had more than one hit. . .LSU has won the first two games of a four-team regional nine times since the current format was adopted in 1999. The Tigers won all eight of the previous regionals. Only once - in 2001 against Virginia Commonwealth - was LSU forced to play a second game in the championship round. . .LSU, which has won a season-high ten games in a row, is 46-14-1. . .Houston, which is 45-16, will play SLU in an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m. . .The paid attendance was 11,702. The actual crowd was 10,436 - the largest of the season and the fifth highest in school history.

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FROM THE CLUBHOUSE

Paul Mainieri

"From the first pitch to the last pitch, Aaron Nola is still doing great things. He got into trouble in the second, but he always finds the fortitude to get out of it. Then, he settles in. It was like the Sam Houston game (Baton Rouge Regional) last year where he gave up all those runs in the first inning. Then, he put up six zeros after the first. Our goal is to get Aaron Nola one more start at Alex Box Stadium. It was a team victory. We faced a good pitcher. Our hitters all did a tremendous job. We played good defense. It was a good solid victory in a pivotal game. But, we haven't won anything yet."


Conner Hale
"Before my first at-bat, coach Mainieri told me to take the ball to rightfield and not try to do too much. That's what I did on the first one. The second hit was a bloop hit. I just hit it where they weren't."


Alex Bregman
"It was just another great job by Aaron. He got in a jam, but he is such a competitor all the time. After that jam, you look up and we're already in the eighth inning. Nola is really special on the mound."


Aaron Nola
"I felt pretty good tonight. I got myself in a big jam in the second inning when I threw about 35 pitches. I made some mistakes and they took advantage. The offense was just great tonight."


UP NEXT
LSU will play the winner of the Houston-SLU game in the championship round Sunday at 7 p.m. Kyle Bouman (5-2) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers. LSU will be the regional champion by winning the Sunday night game. That game will available only on ESPN3.


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