BATON ROUGE -- The UC Irvine Anteaters took advantage of five walks to build a lead while starter Scott Gorgen (12-3) limited LSU to one earned run in 6.2 innings, as the Tigers lost for the first time since April 19, 11-5, in game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional.
LSU (46-17-1), which entered the game with a Southeastern Conference-record 23-game winning streak, will look to survive in the best-of-three series on Sunday at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN. Should LSU win on Sunday, the rubber match would be played at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.
Sunday's game will also be aired live on the LSU Sports Radio Network beginning with the pregame show at 2:45 p.m. on Eagle 98.1 FM in the Baton Rouge area and in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net.
Senior right-hander Jared Bradford will start Sunday’s game on the mound for LSU, while UC Irvine will counter with left-hander Daniel Bibona.
UC Irvine (42-16) moved within a game of the College World Series by pounding 13 hits and scoring its first five runs off LSU walks.
“I’m disappointed because I don’t think we played very well at all tonight in any aspects of the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We got off to a bad start by walking the first two batters of the game. Like Irvine does, they execute. If you make mistakes they are going to take advantage of it. They bunted them over and got a base hit and we are down 2-0 right away. There was a point in the game where we had given up six runs and five of them were walks. That’s not typical of our pitching staff, walking so many batters. That hurt us, obviously.
“Their pitcher (Gorgen) was really good. I admire the kid a lot. He is a real competitor who competed really hard. He got a little bit of a break because the sun never came out today. It has been scorching all week, and when the game began the clouds moved in and cooled it off a little bit for him and helped him with his endurance. The kid competed really hard and got our number today. “
Gorgen, the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year, was spectacular in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with eight strikeouts.
Meanwhile, the Anteaters hit four doubles and two home runs in the victory. First baseman Jeff Cusick led the way with a 3-for-4 performance with two RBI. Rightfielder Sean Madigan hit a three-run home run to give UC Irvine a 6-1 lead in the sixth.
LSU starter Ryan Verdugo (9-3) left the game after five innings trailing 3-1 and was tagged with the loss. He gave up three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
Walks hurt the Tigers, starting with the first two batters of the game. Verdugo's rough start brought Mainieri out of the dugout before the first out was recorded on a sacrifice bunt that moved the runs to second and third. A two-RBI single up the middle by Tony Asaro gave the Anteaters a 2-0 lead.
LSU cut the lead in half with an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning when first baseman Matt Clark hit a one-out ground-rule double down the right field line. Shortstop DJ LeMahieu reached on a fielding error. Clark then scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Leon Landry.
In the fifth, a leadoff walk by Verdugo again came around to score -- this time to the No. 9 hitter in the Anteaters order. Catcher Aaron Lowenstein then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a wild pitch. Lowenstein then scored on a bloop single over the out-stretched glove of Clark at first base.
UC Irvine's 3-1 looked to be 5-1 when Landry tracked a home run by Asaro at the 405-foot sign in center field -- and brought it back. The ball cleared the 10-foot fence when Landry snagged it and fell to the ground. The home crowd erupted when he came up the ball and tossed it back toward the infield.
Paul Bertuccini entered in relief of Verdugo to start the sixth inning, but suffered the same fate with walks to Larson and Stevenson start the inning. Two batters later, Sean Madigan hit his second home run of the season to put UC Irvine up 6-1.
Bertuccini was relieved by Daniel Bradshaw, who gave up a double to Lowenstein before recording the final out of the inning.
After trailing in 17 of 23 games during its winning streak, the Tigers were no strangers to comebacks. And, when Gorgen walked three-straight batters with two outs in the sixth, another comeback looked to be in the works. Lanrdy singled off of Gorgen's glove to score catcher Micah Gibbs from third.
With the bases still loaded, UC Irvine tried to catch the Tigers napping with a hidden ball trick. Stevenson charged from his second-base position toward LeMahieu who had returned to the bag. However, the second base umpire called LeMahieu out to end the inning.
As the Anteaters ran off the field, the Tigers players, coaches and most of the 7,460 fans in attendance were incensed. First-base coach Javi Sanchez was ejected for arguing the call.
With the crowd still buzzing -- and an extended delay between innings -- Bradshaw gave up a double to Cusick to start the inning. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by pinch hitter Dillon Bell. With two outs, Eric Deragisch's single to left was misplayed by Jared Mitchell, allowing Bell to score from first for an 8-2 lead.
Three more Anteaters runs in the top of the eighth inning were matched by three in the bottom of the frame by LSU. LeMahieu hit a two-run home run and Ryan Schimpf hit an RBI triple before being thrown out at home after an errant throw back to the infield.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we have the longest winning streak in SEC baseball history,” Mainieri said. “It wasn’t going to last forever because in this sport it doesn’t. By the same token, we hadn’t paid much attention to it. There are bigger goals in mind, so hopefully we can start a new streak tomorrow. We just have to try to win one in a row tomorrow.”
UC Irvine 11, LSU 5 (Jun 07, 2008 at Baton Rouge, La.)
UC Irvine........... 200 013 230 - 11 13 2 (42-16)
LSU................... 010 001 030 - 5 9 1 (46-17-1)
Pitchers: UC Irvine - Gorgen, Scott; Calahan, Tom(7); Necke, Kyle(8); Avison, Noel(8);
Bergman, Christian(9). LSU - Ryan Verdugo; Paul Bertuccini(6); Daniel Bradshaw(6); Nolan Cain(9).
Win-Gorgen, Scott(12-3) Loss-Ryan Verdugo(9-3) T-3:23 A-8023
HR UCI - Bardeen, Brock (5); Madigan, Sean (2).
HR LSU - DJ LeMahieu (6).
Weather: 92 degrees and cloudy
Actual attendance: 7,460
LSU asst. coach Javi Sanchez was ejected in the bottom of the 6th inning.
Necke faced 1 batter in the 8th.
LSU vs. UC Irvine
June 7, 2008
LSU HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI QUOTES
“I’m disappointed because I don’t think we played very well at all tonight in any aspects of the game. We got off to a bad start by walking the first two batters of the game. Like Irvine does, they execute. If you make mistakes they are going to take advantage of it. They bunted them over and got a base hit and we are down 2-0 right away. There was a point in the game where we had given up six runs and five of them were walks. That’s not typical of our pitching staff, walking so many batters. That hurt us, obviously.
“Their pitcher (Scott Gorgen) was really good. I admire the kid a lot. He is a real competitor who competed really hard. He got a little bit of a break because the sun never came out today. It has been scorching all week, and when the game began the clouds moved in and cooled it off a little bit for him and helped him with his endurance. The kid competed really hard and got our number today.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we have the longest winning streak in SEC baseball history. It wasn’t going to last forever because in this sport it doesn’t. By the same token, we hadn’t paid much attention to it. There are bigger goals in mind, so hopefully we can start a new streak tomorrow. We just have to try to win one in a row tomorrow.”
On the out at second base on the hidden ball trick ...
“It certainly was a big play in the game. We were down, but we had the bases loaded and a pretty good hitter up. I would have loved to have seen the kid get a chance to swing the bat. I can’t tell you what the umpire told me, but I will say that from my vantage point I saw DJ (LeMahieu) one step off the base. I saw the pitcher standing on the back side probably on the turf, off the clay barely. The second baseman broke for it, and DJ took his left foot and stepped back on the base.
“I thought he was clearly safe getting back. I didn’t think the umpire was watching. There was a long hesitation. I think their second baseman sold them on the call by showing them the ball and running off the field. He called him out, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I didn’t think that it was even a doubt that he was back on the base, and I didn’t think the umpire was even watching the play, quite frankly.”
LSU Player Quotes
1B MATT CLARK
On his at bats against UCI starting pitcher Scott Gorgen...
“I battled him and got a couple of pitches in the zone and tried not to miss them. I got a couple of hits out of it, but we didn’t have our best offensive game as a whole. It didn’t really mean a whole lot when we didn’t win the game. We battled, but we didn’t get the result we wanted today.”
DH BLAKE DEAN
On UCI starting pitcher Scott Gorgen...
“He was pretty good. He changed speeds a lot and got people to swing. I swung at quite a few pitches out of the zone which put me in a hole and he’s not the kind of pitcher you want to get yourself in a hole against. He’s got good stuff. His fastball has good velocity and he has a good changeup. If you dig yourself in a hole against him it’s going to be tough to get yourself out of it. We didn’t get him tonight, he got us. We just need to come back out tomorrow and play baseball the way we’ve been playing.
“He threw me a lot of changeups. On my first at bat, he threw me five changeups and one fastball. The whole time I’ve been hitting the ball well if I get myself out that’s when I’m in trouble and I got myself in a hole tonight. He capitalized on it and I don’t blame him for throwing it over and over if I’m going to swing at it. He just kept putting the ball there and I wasn’t laying off.”
SS D.J. LEMAHIEU
On his eighth-inning home run...
“On the home run I was just trying to see the ball up. It was late in the game and we didn’t win the game so it’s really not an issue.”
On being called out at second base with the bases loaded in the sixth inning...
“I was one foot off the base and I saw the second baseman run at me out of the corner of my eye and I put my foot back on the base before he tagged me. That’s what happened.”
UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie
“We had really great performance tonight with the team and with Scott Gorgen. We capitalized and exploited a couple opportunities after some base runs. We got a clutch base hit early and other base run hits. The three run home run by Madigan (Sean) was giant and well played out. The pitch hitters came up big; we got a big play in right field and had a great diving play. So, far it was a little bit of everything and a lot of different guys took part in this win. We had a lot of heroes. Obviously this is a big win for us, huge win, and great win and upward it should be a good game tomorrow.”
On the play at second base...
“No, I’ve never heard of that play before. I don’t have any idea where it came from, but I thought it was a great idea. I did not see the play but I heard it was a good play.”
On Sean Madigan...
“Well, Sean( Madigan) has had a real good run for about a month with right and left handed pitchers. He’s not a guy who gives into left handed pitches. But, what we could expect from this game was a selection of pitches that Sean would be matched well against. He additionally gives us an extra demission on defense.”
UC IRVINE PLAYER QUOTES
RF Sean Madigan
On his home run...
“We just had a nice sacrifice bunt that moved runners in. It was a big run. He threw me two straight curve balls and then he threw another one for a strike. Usually I don’t do this, but I was just sitting on another curve ball and I just connected.”
2B Casey Stevenson
On the hidden ball play...
“We had just gotten into some trouble that inning with some walks. Bases were loaded and [LSU] had just gotten that infield single. Right after I got the ball, I had it in my mind that I was going to try to do that because the momentum was in their favor.”
“I didn’t think they were going to be paying attention to that. I told Scott [Gorgen] to stay off the dirt and held onto the ball. He took his lead when [Gorgen] was still off the dirt and I wanted to wait for him to get farther off, but I saw the first and third base coach looking around. I decided that was the time to go for it.”
“I thought he was off the bag by a little bit. When he reached back I think he missed the bag by a little bit. I think that is what the umpires collaborated and saw. Everyone on the team did a good job of selling it. We were screaming ‘We got him. We got him.’ We started running off the field before the ump even made the call and he made the out call.”
P Scott Gorgen
On pitching against LSU...
“I felt good. I wasn’t at my best the last couple of outings and I knew that this was a good atmosphere with a lot of people and a lot of noise.”
“I was able to locate my pitches early and get ahead. At that point, I was just mixing all three of my pitches and locating my fast ball in and out. We got them to ground out and fly out and I have to give the credit to my team, mainly Aaron Lowenstein behind the plate. That guy works his butt off every game. He is the heart and soul behind there.”