JaCoby Jones had four hits, including a double and a home run, as LSU defeated Oklahoma 11-1 on Saturday night at The Box to win the Baton Rouge Super-Regional and advance to the College World Series.
HOW THEY SCORED
Oklahoma first inning - Craig Aikin singled and moved to second on a bunt by Jack Mayfield. Max White singled home Aikin. OKLAHOMA 1, LSU 0
LSU second inning - Raph Rhymes singled and moved to second on a bunt by Christian Ibarra. Jones singled home Rhymes. LSU 1, OKLAHOMA 1
LSU third inning - With one out, Mark Laird singled and advanced to third when rightfielder Hunter Haley misplayed the ball. Laird scored on first baseman Matt Oberste made an error on Alex Bregman's ground ball. LSU 2, OKLAHOMA 1
LSU fourth inning - With one out, Jones turned a single into a double when the centerfielder White lackadaisically went after the ball. Jones moved to third on Ty Ross' grounder to first base. Jared Foster singled home Jones. LSU 3, OKLAHOMA 1
LSU sixth inning - Rhymes walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Dillon Overton. Jones singled with Rhymes stopping at third base. A safety squeeze by Ross drove in Rhymes. LSU 4, OKLAHOMA 1
LSU eighth inning - Jones hit a two-out solo home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 5, OKLAHOMA 1
LSU ninth inning - Laird reached on an error by third baseman Garrett Casey and Bregman singled. Laird went to third on Mason Katz' fly ball to rightfield. Rhymes doubled home Laird. After Ibarra fouled out to first base, Jones was intentionally walked. Ross singled in Bregman and pinch-runner Chris Sciambra. Jones, who went to third on Ross' single, scored on a wild pitch by Kindle Ladd. Andrew Stevenson singled home Ross. Alex Edward drove in Stevenson with a single. LSU 11, OKLAHOMA 1
LSU MISSED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Seventh inning - Bregman doubled with two out. Bregman was stranded at second base as Katz grounded out to shortstop.
Jones matched his career-high with four hits in a game. He had four hits in games against Holy Cross in 2011 and Arkansas in 2012. Jones was instrumental in four of LSU's first five runs. He singled in Rhymes in the second to tie the score at 1-1. Jones scored on a two-out single by Foster to put the Tigers ahead 3-1 in the fourth. He singled to set up LSU's sixth-inning run. Then, Jones hit his sixth homer of the season and the 14th of his career to give the Tigers a 5-1 lead in the eighth. Jones entered Saturday's game with three hits in his last 14 official at-bats.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Ryan Eades did not return to the game after the 52-minute delay after the end of the fourth inning. Eades allowed three hits and one first-inning run. Eades got Oberste to hit into an inning-ending double play in the first. With runners at first and second with one out in the second, Eades got ground outs from Haley and Carey. Eades retired five of the six batters he faced in the third and fourth innings. Eades issued two walks and struck out one.
Four Tigers relievers closed out the victory with five scoreless innings. Will LaMarche, the first man out of the bullpen following the weather delay, picked up his third victory of the season. LaMarche gave up a leadoff single to Colt Bickerstaff in the fifth, but got Haley to hit into a double play. He got into trouble in the sixth with a one-out hit batter and a two-out walk. LaMarche was then replaced by Nick Rumbelow. With runners at second and third, Rumbelow struck out Hector Lorenzana. Rumbelow gave up a two-out single to Taylor Alspaugh in the seventh. Carey then hit a drive to deep leftfield which was caught at the top of the fence by Rhymes. Cotton closed out the victory by retiring six consecutive batters in the eighth and ninth innings.
LSU will advance to the College World Series for the 16th time - three under coach Paul Mainieri. The Tigers won their sixth super-regional series since the format started in 1999. LSU swept the super-regional in two games for the fourth time. The Tigers' other sweeps came against UCLA in 2000, Texas A&M in 2004 and Rice in 2009. . .LSU allowed a total of one run in back-to-back NCAA tournament games for the first time in 13 years. The Tigers defeated Jackson State 19-1 and Louisiana-Monroe 21-0 in consecutive games in the 2000 Baton Rouge Regional. . .The game was delayed for 52 minutes after the fourth inning. There was lightning spotted which precipitated the delay. It never rained at The Box during the stoppage of action. . .With the lefthanded Overton starting, Foster was in the lineup playing rightfield. Laird was in centerfield with Stevenson on the bench. Foster had a RBI single in the fourth inning. . .Laird extended his hitting streak to five games with his first-inning single. Laird, who had two hits, is 9-for-22 during the hitting streak. . .Rhymes now has a four-game hitting streak. Rhymes, who had two hits, is 8-for-17 during the hitting streak. . .Bregman had a double and a single to give him 104 hits for the year - the most ever for a LSU freshman. Mike Fontenot had 103 hits in 2000. The 104 hits equals the sixth most in a single season for a Tigers player. Brad Hawpe had 104 hits in 2000. . .Ross and Stevenson also had two hits. . .LSU was 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position. . . Overton gave up four runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings. . .All six Tigers runs in the ninth were unearned due to the error by Carey. . .The throwing error by Ross on Mayfield's stolen base in the sixth was his first of the season. . .LSU is 57-9 - which ties the school and Southeastern Conference record for victories in a season. The Tigers won 57 games in 1997. . .Oklahoma finished its season with a 43-21 record. . .The actual crowd was 11,401 - a new record for a LSU home game.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"It's been a long 365 days. The last time we were up here it was a pretty sad day for us (loss in super-regional series to Stony Brook). This win doesn't erase the hurt that we felt after the game for players like Austin Nola, Tyler Hanover, Kevin Gausman and Nick Goody. But, this does take away some of that bitter taste we had. You are always happy to go to Omaha. People don't quite understand how hard it is to get there. It's really quite an accomplishment to earn your way there any year, but especially this year. It's not just because of what happened last year, but for guys like Mason Katz, Chris Cotton and Alex Edward. I was so tired of hearing all year that these could be the first four-year seniors since 1985 not to go to Omaha. We couldn't let that happen. That couldn't be their legacy."
(on going back to Omaha) "Yes, it's a relief to get back to Omaha. We wanted to win this thing really badly. This room reeks of tradition. What the coaches before me was amazing. I get to be the custodian now. Omaha is such an amazing place. We are going there to win and I think we can. We have a great group of guys who are very talented and are on a mission. We've got what it takes."
(on LSU's defense): "It's something we take an awful lot of pride in. We have a great defensive player at every position. I thought our defense this whole weekend was suffocating for Oklahoma's offense. We are used to seeing great plays and they aren't accidental. These are talented kids who work extremely hard for it."
(on development of pitching staff): "All the credit in the world goes to (pitching coach) Alan Dunn. He has been unbelievable. The way he works with our guys is amazing. He knows what each guy's strengths are and what their limitations are. Everyone contributes. They have all found their role and we've been able to pitch effectively. Part of it is our defense. It must have seemed to Oklahoma that they were hitting against 12 or 13 guys. When you pitch and catch the ball, you have a chance to win every day."
(on JaCoby Jones' play in the super-regional series) "His getting drafted (Friday) took a lot of pressure off him. These guys don't dream of playing in a super-regional at LSU. They dream of playing major league baseball. The draft is the first part of that. JaCoby was constantly under scrutiny for the whole year. That's tough dealing with that pressure for a young kid. These last two days, JaCoby was a lot more athletic."
(on his catch against the fence in the seventh inning) "I think the ball actually found my glove. I don't know if I really caught it. I kind of jumped and the ball landed in there. I read it the whole way. I'm glad I could be there for my team. As far as us being seniors and getting back to Omaha, this is why (seniors) came back. This is why you stick around. The goal when you step foot on campus is to get to Omaha. So, we got a chance and took advantage of that tonight. Our offensive mindset is to go out there and battle when we get behind. There is no panic with these guys."
"Being surrounded by this group of guys makes it easy. This is why we came back. We were surrounded by freshmen who say every day that they want to get the seniors to Omaha. You don't have to convince guys about what the goal is around here. The freshmen and the new guys did everything and anything to get us to this point and in a position to go win a national championship. Our pitchers have kept us in so many games. We have one of the best bullpens in the country. If we turn it over to them with a lead, I feel we can win."
"My swing has been the same. I just feel real comfortable in the box. I was just trying to do whatever I could to get on base for the team, use my legs and find some holes. I was just trying to do whatever I could to hit the ball hard and get on base. It was tough early in the year. I tried to help the team win on defense because I couldn't do it on offense. But, I trusted my ability and athleticism."
LSU will play UCLA in a first-round game of the College World Series. Games in the Tigers' bracket will probably start Saturday. The Bruins (44-17) swept two games in the super-regional at Fullerton State by scores of 5-3 and 3-0.