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Carl Dubois
Pacific Northwest
Member since Apr 2009
326 posts

Timely hitting, defense lift Tigers over UVA

Somewhere along the way, a national championship college baseball team wins at least one game that doesn't look like most of its victories. Something isn't as good as usual, so someone has to pick up the slack.

LSU's 9-5 victory Saturday night against Virginia on Opening Day at the College World Series was that kind of winning performance.

Sean Ochinko hit a three-run home run, Ryan Schimpf hit a two-run shot and the Tigers made a number of outstanding defensive plays to overcome shaky pitching early. Micah Gibbs, who drove in two runs, joined D.J. LeMahieu and Mikie Mahtook as LSU players with three-hit nights.

LeMahieu and Blake Dean each drove in a run.

"That was a game we haven’t had for most of the season, where we had a subpar performance from our starting pitcher," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who took starter Anthony Ranaudo out with one out in the fourth inning and the Tigers leading 3-2.

"Our defense made some great plays to keep us in the game, then our offense came to life and gave us some separation."

Virginia (48-14-1) took a 4-3 lead off Paul Bertuccini with a home run and three singles in the fifth inning, but LSU's bullpen largely shut down the Cavaliers from that point.

The Tigers (52-16) will play Arkansas (40-22) at 6 p.m. Monday (ESPN2) in the most pivotal game of the College World Series schedule. The winner won't play again until 1 p.m. Friday, when it would have a chance to clinch a spot in the best-of-three championship series scheduled to start three days later.

The losing team Monday night would have to win Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to reach the championship round of the double-elimination tournament.

Arkansas defeated Cal State Fullerton 10-6 to open the CWS in Saturday's early game.

Louis Coleman, who threw 17 pitches Saturday night as the fifth of six LSU pitchers in the game, is the probable starter in the winners-bracket game Monday. Coleman pitched a two-hit shutout May 2 in a 5-0 victory at Arkansas on the way to an LSU series victory vs. the Razorbacks.

"(My shoulder) is feeling fine, and I’m definitely ready for Monday," Coleman said after pitching a scoreless eighth inning Saturday. "I’ve done this a couple times before (pitching in relief just before a start).

"This was actually one of the fewest number of pitches I’ve thrown all year."

Austin Ross (6-7) won in relief. He pitched two innings, allowing a run on four hits. Ross inherited runners on first and second with two out in the fifth and struck out the first batter he faced.

He ended the sixth with a strikeout with a runner (Hultzen, at this point the DH) on second.

Chad Jones faced two batters, walking the first and retiring the second on a pop-up.

LSU won a first-round CWS game for the first time since its national championship season of 2000. First-round defeats in 2003, 2004 and 2008 hastened departures from Omaha.

Ochinko's home run was the big momentum swing -- and a reminder of the power of the three-run homer, a staple of the championship teams of the previous decade. He turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead with his shot into the left-field seats at Rosenblatt Stadium.

"It was good to be able to help the team and drive in some runs, even though I struck out three times too," Ochinko said. "I was just happy to help the team. I’m not going to lie to you guys: That was the most important baseball moment of my life."

Ochinko's big hit was emblematic of a larger picture. It came in his third at-bat, following two in which he took Virginia starting pitcher Danny Hultzen to full counts.

By the time Hultzen left the game, he'd thrown 77 pitches in three innings. Ochinko hit his homer on a 2-1 pitch from Matt Packer.

"I thought our hitters really battled tonight," Mainieri said. "They ran the pitch counts up and did a great job at the plate."

Schimpf's two-run homer in the eighth turned a 7-5 lead into a 9-5 advantage that allowed Mainieri to limit Coleman to one inning. Matty Ott pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

"It was a great college baseball game up until the eighth," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "They were very aggressive. You play a team like LSU and not make plays, they’ll burn you. Give LSU credit. We left (14) runners on base. LSU made the plays. We couldn’t come up with the big hit."

O'Connor said he was proud of his team, which is in the CWS for the first time. The Cavaliers must defeat Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game Monday to stay in Omaha.

"I’m not worried," O'Connor said. "Our team showed resiliency. The team has tremendous pride. We’ll be ready to play on Monday."

LSU made a series of highlight-video defensive plays to help strand Virginia runners. The Cavaliers left two on base in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings and left the bases loaded in the fourth.

Mahtook's face-down dive for a catch in shallow center field robbed John Hicks of a hit with runners on first and second in the second inning. With runners on the corners an inning later, shortstop Austin Nola jumped to pluck a line drive off the bat of Steven Proscia, ending Virginia's turn at bat.

That came one base-on-balls after LeMahieu's from-his-knees throw from second base to first base for the second out of the inning.

Schimpf saved three runs with a sliding catch near the left-field line to retire Virginia in the fourth with the bases loaded and all of the baserunners running.

"When Schimpf came in after that diving catch in the outfield, I told him that he’d really improved since the early innings," Mainieri said. "All the plays were very important. Our defense kept us in the game, because we weren’t pitching very well.

"They hit the ball really hard, but we made the plays. We’ve preached to our guys 'If you’re not hitting, make a play on defense.' It’s going to take a little of everything to win a championship."

Including other good fortune. LSU caught a break in the second inning when a bad call robbed Virginia's Dan Grovatt of a leadoff double. Schimpf went into the corner for the ball, which first hit about a foot in fair territory, then skipped through Schimpf into foul territory.

O'Connor argued the call with no success. Grovatt later hit a single but was stranded on second base after a fielder's choice and a walk preceeded Mahtook's diving catch.

The second of three Ranaudo strikeouts retired the side.

LSU now turns its attention to SEC West rival Arkansas.

The Razorbacks won the first game of the early-May series 11-5 behind starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and timely hitting, components that carried Arkansas to victory Saturday against Cal State Fullerton in Omaha.

After Coleman's two-hit, complete-game shutout in the second game of the series in Fayetteville, LSU won the series with a 4-3 victory against Brett Eibner, the probable starting pitcher for Monday's game.

.

Carl Dubois
has covered LSU sports on a regular basis since 1999. He is not in Omaha, so he wrote this recap about the Virginia-LSU game after watching on ESPN and getting coach and player comments through the NCAA's Web site. You can contact him by writing carl1061 'at' gmail.com.


beauthelab
Member since Feb 2008
4738 posts

Great read. Thanks, Carl.


kcseagull
LSU Fan
Saucier, Mississippi
Member since Oct 2005
55 posts

Great article about a great win. Keep it up Carl!


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OTIS2
LSU Fan
NoLA
Member since Jul 2008
48286 posts

quote:

Workin' 9 to 5: Timely hitting, defense lift Tigers
Great read. Thanks, Carl.


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TigerStripes06
LSU Fan
SWLA
Member since Sep 2006
30032 posts

Nice article, Carl. did the tigerdroppings.com jet get you to Omaha?


GarmischTiger
LSU Fan
Humboldt County
Member since Mar 2007
6538 posts

You can't stop reading at the end of the article...
quote:

Carl Dubois has covered LSU sports on a regular basis since 1999. He is not in Omaha, so he wrote this recap about the Virginia-LSU game after watching on ESPN and getting coach and player comments through the NCAA's Web site.


nosaj56
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2007
21959 posts



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TigerStripes06
LSU Fan
SWLA
Member since Sep 2006
30032 posts



GarmischTiger
LSU Fan
Humboldt County
Member since Mar 2007
6538 posts

I think the TD jet is an Airbus...safety first.


stout
Arizona Fan
Smoking Crack with Hunter Biden
Member since Sep 2006
157224 posts
 Online 

quote:

He is not in Omaha,



Chicken is a cheap bastard


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TigerStripes06
LSU Fan
SWLA
Member since Sep 2006
30032 posts

quote:

safety first.


apparently not


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Carl Dubois
Pacific Northwest
Member since Apr 2009
326 posts

Chicken applied for credentials for me, but the NCAA denied the request, saying the site does not meet its criteria for credentials (press passes). As I posted last week, this was no surprise. LSU won't credential TD either and says the SEC credentialed me for Hoover in error and wouldn't do it again without TD meeting higher standards as a news site that regularly covers LSU with daily original content by reporters covering a number of sports (practices, press conferences, games).

I will continue to do my best under these limitations but want to be honest about the information and writing I'm providing, which is why my tagline points out I am not on site at the CWS.
This post was edited on 6/14 at 12:51 pm


stout
Arizona Fan
Smoking Crack with Hunter Biden
Member since Sep 2006
157224 posts
 Online 

Well that's BS. Chicken got into the NC game a few years ago with press credentials through TD


TheDoc
LSU Fan
doc is no more
Member since Dec 2005
99297 posts

anyone got that pic handy?


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Ice Cold
USA Fan
Over Macho Grande
Member since Jun 2004
18739 posts

I guran-frickin-tee you more people read Carl's articles on TD.com than the articles on the Advocate's web site. Web-only journalism is the coming wave, and the SEC and LSU need to get with the program.


ShyTiger
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2004
43 posts

quote:

Chicken applied for credentials for me, but the NCAA denied the request, saying the site does not meet its criteria for credentials (press passes). As I posted last week, this was no surprise. LSU won't credential TD either and says the SEC credentialed me for Hoover in error and wouldn't do it again without TD meeting higher standards as a news site that regularly covers LSU with daily original content by reporters covering a number of sports (practices, press conferences, games).

I will continue to do my best under these limitations but want to be honest about the information and writing I'm providing, which is why my tagline points out I am not on site at the CWS.


Carl, please stop apologizing for not having credentials. Your blogs are better when you have less lame coach-speak and quotes. Unless you can obtain quotes/videos of a press conference that are suitable for a Coors commercial, then you are better off without them.

It sounds like LSU is still in the control mode and the "good ol' boy" network. It's ironic that they want TD, the most popular and most trafficed media outlet, to live up to a higher standard when other outlets are struggling/failing and not, as you suggest, attending all practices, press conferences and games for all programs.

Keep up the good work.
This post was edited on 6/14 at 4:06 pm


TheDoc
LSU Fan
doc is no more
Member since Dec 2005
99297 posts

quote:

Web-only journalism is the coming wave


chicken is a visionary IMO


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Carl Dubois
Pacific Northwest
Member since Apr 2009
326 posts

Thanks. I appreciate what you say. I just know from 25-plus years of doing it, there is no substitute for being there. That's what journalism is. That's why governments and organizations try to restrict access. Someone else here said it best: It's about being your eyes and ears at the game, at practice, in the hotel lobby, at places where you see and hear. It's why I fought so vigorously when I worked for an editor who handcuffed reporters by having them stay in the office much of the time. I've never written a story about what happens in the office. You go where the story is. It is a basic tenet of journalism, Web or otherwise.

That being said, yes, I bring experience and perspective to my stories about this team. I just think it's essential to be honest and ethical about not trying to pretend I'm there when I'm not.


GarmischTiger
LSU Fan
Humboldt County
Member since Mar 2007
6538 posts

quote:

I will continue to do my best under these limitations but want to be honest about the information and writing I'm providing, which is why my tagline points out I am not on site at the CWS.
Yours was the fourth article I read this morning about the big Tiger win...the best by a rather large margin. I was more impressed after reading it that you weren't even there to write it.

It's amazing to me that the same facts can be assembled and published and the results be so varied. Your writing is crisp and clean, and when you start a theme in an article you don't leave the reader hanging.

Your commentary is solid - credentials or none - and your coverage of the Tigers since you started knocking out copy for TD is second to none.

I look forward to your next, Mr. D.


COTiger
LSU Fan
Colorado
Member since Dec 2007
16742 posts

I've been reading Carl's work for a number of years and they don't come any better.

He also writes a blog for the Lake Charles American Press which is also a great read.

LINK


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