Both Alex Bregman and Raph Rhymes had three hits and drove in two runs as LSU defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 5-1 on Sunday night at The Box to win the Baton Rouge Regional.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU fifth inning - With two out, Mason Katz walked and moved to second on a wild pitch by Cody Boutte. An infield hit by Rhymes and a walk to Christian Ibarra loaded the bases. Katz scored on a walk to Ty Ross. LSU 1, UL-LAFAYETTE 0
LSU sixth inning - With one out, Mark Laird and JaCoby Jones singled. Bregman singled home Laird. Jones went to third and Bregman advanced to second on the throw to third base. After Katz struck out, Rhymes singled home Jones and Bregman. LSU 4, UL-LAFAYETTE 0
UL-Lafayette sixth inning - Dex Kjerstad reached on an error by Bregman at shortstop. Kjerstad scored on a double by Jace Conrad. LSU 4, UL-LAFAYETTE 1
LSU eighth inning - With two out, Bregman hit a home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 5, UL-LAFAYETTE 1
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
First inning - With two out, Bregman walked and Katz doubled. Rhymes left two runners in scoring position by flying out to leftfield.
Third inning - With one out, Jones walked and Bregman singled. Jones was stranded at second base as Katz popped out to second base and Rhymes flied out to centerfield.
Fourth inning - With two out, Alex Edward doubled and Andrew Stevenson was hit by a pitch. Laird struck out to end the inning.
Ninth inning - Rhymes singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Michael Strentz. Ibarra grounded out to third base. After Ross walked, Jared Foster fouled out to the catcher and Stevenson grounded out to first base.
Bregman had a big night at the plate with two singles and a home run. His RBI single in the sixth put the Tigers on top 2-0. Bregman's sixth homer of the year put LSU ahead 5-1 in the eighth. Bregman also walked and singled in the third. Bregman went 6-for-10 in the two games after his collision with Rhymes in the outfield Friday. Rhymes' two-run single in the sixth gave the Tigers a comfortable 4-0 advantage. He also had infield hits in the fifth and ninth innings. Rhymes went 5-for-10 after leaving Friday's game due to the collision with Bregman.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Brent Bonvillain pitched a career high 5.1 innings and allowed one unearned run. Bonvillain gave up just three hits, walked one and struck out three. The one run came in the sixth on an error by Bregman and a double by Conrad. After Stevenson made a diving catch on Blake Trahan's fly ball in shallow centerfield, Bonvillain was taken out of the game. Bonvillain, who won his third game of the season, allowed just one runner past first base in the first five innings. In the fifth, Strentz walked and moved to second on a bunt. Bonvillain retired Dylan Butler and Chase Compton on fly balls to Rhymes in leftfield and Laird in rightfield, respectively.
Nick Rumbelow, who did not pitch in the first two games of the tournament, entered the game in the sixth with a runner on third and one out. Rumbelow proceeded to strike out both Caleb Adams and Tyler Girouard. He had perfect innings in both the seventh and eighth with two more strikeouts. Chris Cotton threw a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout. It was not a save situation for Cotton since LSU had a four-run lead. Rumbelow and Cotton retired all 11 hitters they faced.
LSU will be appearing in a super-regional for the tenth time since this format began in 1999. He Tigers went 3-0 in a regional for the seventh time. . .Bregman was selected the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Other LSU players on the all-tournament team were pitchers Aaron Nola and Bonvillain, Ross, Katz and Rhymes. . .There were significant changes in LSU's starting lineup. Sean McMullen was unavailable because of his hamstring injury. Laird, who had missed the last four games with an ankle injury, batted first and played rightfield. He went 1-for-5. Jones moved to the No. 2 spot in the lineup and was 1-for-4. Edward was the designated hitter and batted eighth. He was 1-for-4. . .Chris Sciambra was also unavailable due to a high fever which kept him at home. . .Bregman now has 102 hits for the season. That total equals the eighth most for a Tigers player in a single season. Sean Barker had 102 hits in 2002. The most hits in a season by a LSU freshman is 103 by Mike Fontenot in 2000. . .Katz' first-inning double was No. 52 in his career. He is tied with Clay Harris for ninth place in LSU career doubles. The Tigers were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. In the tournament, LSU stranded 36 runners - 20 in scoring position. . .Boutte, UL-Lafayette's starting pitcher, had thrown 1.2 innings as a starter in the afternoon game against Sam Houston State. Against LSU, Boutte gave up one run and four hits in 4.2 innings. . .Cord Cockrell, the first of four Ragin' Cajun relievers, allowed the three sixth-inning runs. . .For the second straight game, Tigers pitchers didn't allow an earned runs. All five runs off Nola on Saturday came in the first inning when LSU made three errors - two by Ibarra and one by Bregman. The one run off Bonvillain was unearned due to the error by Bregman. . .The Tigers are 55-9. No other LSU team had entered the super-regional with as many as 50 victories. . .UL-Lafayette, which had a losing record a year ago, finished 2013 with a 43-20 mark. The Ragin' Cajuns defeated Sam Houston State 7-5 on Sunday afternoon to get to the championship round. . .The actual attendance was 10,191. LSU set school regional paid and actual attendance records. The paid attendance for the six games was 67,741. The actual attendance for the six games was 38,085.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"It was a much tougher game than I thought it would be. We were very fortunate to win that game. If it weren't for Brent Bonvillain, we would have had a difficult time winning that ball game. For our pitching staff to hold their offense to only three hits speaks volumes for the job that Brent, Nick (Rumbelow) and Chris (Cotton) did. It's a great win for us and we are obviously very happy to move on to the next step. We are going to have a great opponent coming in next weekend. It's going to be a great atmosphere with what's waiting at the end of the weekend. We won't celebrate a lot until we have accomplished that."
(on dealing with injuries) "The whole thing is a testament to these kids. No matter what breaks go against us, we find a way. There is a new hero every day. It wasn't pretty this weekend. We didn't play consistently, but we played well enough to win. You can win it without playing great baseball sometimes and that's a compliment to our team."
(on coming back after a hard weekend) "We strive for perfection every day even though we know it is unattainable. Our attitude is that if we strive to be the best we can be then somewhere along the way we can grab excellence and win most of our games. We didn't hit in the clutch early in the game. But, Brent was key in holding them down. Eventually, we were able to finish off a rally or two."
"Everybody one through nine was competing and that's all you can ask out of an offense. Everybody battled and that just helped me because when I saw them battle, I knew I had to go battle. I was just happy to put some good swings on balls and I was happy they fell."
(on breaking the 100-hit mark) "Reaching 100 hits wasn't a goal. It's an honor to have 100 hits in this great league. I shot for higher than 100. So, I'm not really satisfied. We still have a long ways to go. It's not about how I hit or how I don't hit. To me, it's about how LSU does and we're doing pretty dang good right now. We have to keep that up."
"It's definitely fun to pitch when you're playing in a championship game. It was a great experience pitching in front of 10,000 fans. It definitely had my heart going a few times. I have no idea where that performance came from. I just went out there and tried to have fun. It's hard to put into words winning a regional with LSU, a team that I've always dreamt of playing with and always looked up to play with because I lived in Louisiana. My curve ball was working good tonight. I was just trying to pump strikes."
(on his two-run single in the sixth inning) "That was a time in the game where I needed to step up. We had some guys on base and I was trying to make something happen. I got a curve ball and went the other way with it. We had opportunities early in the game and just didn't get the job done. I thought we had good at-bats. We kept battling and we got the job done later on."
LSU will play host to Oklahoma in the super-regional. The super-regional series schedule will be announced Monday. Super-regionals will start either Friday or Saturday. Oklahoma went unbeaten in the Blacksburg Regional hosted by Virginia Tech. The Sooners (43-19), who won the Big XII tournament, defeated the Hokies 10-4 in the regional title game Sunday.