The Tigers' season ends harshly against Houston
Houston scored seven runs in the bottom of the third inning to break a 2-2 tie and end the LSU baseball team's season in the NCAA Regional final 12-2 last night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU (46-16-1) led 2-0 after the first frame, but Houston (48-16) scored 12 unanswered runs to advance to the NCAA Super Regional against Texas next weekend.
Cougars reliver Jared Robinson (5-1) entered to squelch a rally in the third and stymied the Tigers for the better part of the next six innings. He faced 15 straight Tigers without allowing a hit until the eighth inning. Robinson threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday, allowing only four hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He also threw 6 2/3 innings on Friday in an opening-round win over Southeastern Louisiana.
In the top of the first, LSU came out swinging against Houston starter Andrew Lantrip. With one out, both Alex Bregman and Jake Fraley singled through the left side and advanced on a double-steal. McMullen's single through the right side scored both runners and gave LSU a 2-0 lead.
Houston answered immediately against LSU freshman starter Alden Cartwright, who was unable to get an out. Cartwright gave up a hit batter and two walks before being taken out. Righthander Parker Bugg (2-2), another freshman, entered and allowed a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded that cut LSU's advantage to 2-1. A sacrifice bunt by Caleb Barker tied the game at 2-2, and Bugg overcame an error with a strikeout to end the inning.
The Tigers put two runners on base by virtue of walks in the top of the third to chase Lantrip, but Robinson entered and struck out Cade Scivicque to end the threat.
In the deciding home half of the third, 10 Cougars reached base consecutively with only a fielder's choice to the Tigers' credit. Seven straight crossed the plate against two LSU pitchers, as Bugg allowed a walk, a single and a hit batter to load the bases. After stopping a grounder up the middle with his foot and throwing out Casey Grayson at home for the first out, Bugg hit Landon Appling on the next pitch to drive in Frankie Ratcliff from third and give Houston a 3-2 lead.
Bugg was lifted in favor of Brady Domangue, who saw his first action since May 4. The junior righthander allowed a two-RBI double to Connor Hollis before giving up an RBI single to Ashford Fulmer. A stolen base and an intentional walk loaded the bases once again, and two-RBI single by Michael Pyeatt put Houston ahead 8-2. After a single by Grayson, Domangue was lifted for Nate Fury, who allowed a sacrifice fly by Ratcliff before striking out Barker to mercifully end the inning. The Tigers trailed 9-2.
Meanwhile, Robinson retired 13 of 15 Tigers and didn't allow a hit until Bregman led off the eighth inning with a single to left field. The junior pitcher was able to work around a single by McMullen - and another credited to pinch hitter Chris Chinea on a ground ball that hit Bregman between second and third - to get Tyler Moore out quietly and end the inning.
Houston added its final runs in the bottom of the eighth, as Grayson walked and Ratcliff singled to chase reliever Hunter Devall. Kurt McCune then gave up a one-out walk to load the bases before Grayson scored on a passed ball. Appling's single to left scored Ratcliff, and a sacrifice fly by Fulmer drove in Vidales to put Houston ahead 12-2.