Baseball Bests UL-Lafayette, Wins 20th NCAA Regional
Game 5: UL-Lafayette def. Sam Houston St., 7-5
Game 6: LSU vs. UL-Lafayette, 7 p.m. CT
BATON ROUGE - NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player Alex Bregman went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead the LSU baseball team past Louisiana-Lafayette, 5-1, on Sunday night at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU (55-9), which won its 20th regional title, will play host to Oklahoma (43-19), the No. 2 seed in the Blacksburg, Va., Region who knocked off top-seeded Virginia Tech to advance to the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional.
The Baton Rouge Super Regional will begin either Friday, June 7, or Saturday, June 8. Tickets are available for purchase by LSU baseball season ticket holders until Tuesday.
Dates and game times will be announced at the conclusion of NCAA Regional play late Monday or early Tuesday.
LSU starter Brent Bonvillain (3-0) tossed a career-high 5 1/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Nick Rumbelow and Chris Cotton finished the game with 3 2/3 innings of no-hit relief.
With two outs in the fifth inning, first baseman Mason Katz drew a base on balls. Outfielder Raph Rhymes then followed up with a single, while third baseman Christian Ibarra reached first on a walk of his own. Catcher Ty Ross then drew a bases-loaded walk, pulling LSU in front 1-0.
In the sixth, right fielder Mark Laird and second baseman JaCoby Jones connected for back-to-back singles. A third straight single came off the bat of Bregman, scoring Laird and doubling the Tigers lead to 2-0.
Later in the inning, Rhymes (3-for-5) scored Jones and Bregman with a looping two-RBI single to right field.
With one out in the sixth inning, Rumbelow replaced Bonvillain. With a runner on third, Rumbelow recorded two pivotal strikeouts to silence the Cajuns in the sixth. Rumbelow remained on the hill throughout the seventh and eighth, striking out four while retiring all eight Cajun hitters faced.
Bregman, who finished 3-for-4 on the night, provided LSU an insurance run in the eighth on a solo blast into the bleachers in left, extending the Tigers lead to 5-1.
Centerfielder Andrew Stevenson continued his exceptional play on defense throughout the night, including a run-saving, diving snag in the sixth.
P - Aaron Nola, LSU
P - Brent Bonvillain, LSU
C - Ty Ross, LSU
1B - Mason Katz, LSU
2B - Ryan Farney, SHSU
SS - Alex Bregman, LSU
3B - Tyler Girouard, ULL
OF - Raph Rhymes, LSU
OF - Caleb Adams, ULL
OF - Chuck Tilery, JSU
DH - Anoko Knowles, JSU
Most Outstanding Player: Alex Bregman, LSU
NCAA Super Regional Pairings
(1) North Carolina/Florida Atlantic vs. South Carolina/Liberty
(8) Oregon/Rice vs. NC State
(5) Cal State Fullerton/Arizona St. vs. UCLA
(4) LSU vs. Oklahoma
(2) Vanderbilt/Georgia Tech vs. Louisville
(7) Florida St. vs. Indiana
(6) Virginia vs. Mississippi St./Central Arkansas
(3) Oregon St. vs. Kansas St.
LSU Head Coach Paul Maineri
“First, I’d like to congratulate Tony Robichaux and his staff on a great season. Their players played their hearts off, and it was a long day for them. It was a much tougher game then I thought it would be, and 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. Their starter (Cody Boutte) gave a courageous effort, and their kids played their hearts out. For our pitching staff to hold their offense to only three hits speaks volume 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’ve won three championships this year, but there was no dog pile on the mound because we know that was 3/5 of the job that needs to be done to get to Omaha. We had three big wins, and the players know it takes five. We are going to have a great opponent come in next weekend, and 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. It was a great tournament, and I’m looking forward to next weekend.”
On getting the roster set ahead…
“It all started with (Mark) Laird rolling his ankle last Saturday. We didn’t have Sean McMullen or Chris Sciambra because he was at home with a fever. We were very short-handed, and that’s why I put Alex Edward into the lineup instead of (Jared) Foster. I think 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 everyday, and it wasn’t pretty this weekend. We didn’t play consistently, but we played enough to win. You can win it without playing great baseball sometimes, and it’s a compliment to our team.”
On the weekend…
“The first day was a very hot and humid afternoon. Last night was a hard game to play. Instead of taking the traditional infield, we took ground balls. It helped the guys relax a bit. Last night was an aberration, and I wouldn’t trade our infield defense for anyone in the country.”
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 that we can be then somewhere along the way we are going to grab excellence and win most of our games. We didn’t hit in the clutch early in the game. In the first four innings, we left guys on-base every inning. Brent was key and was holding them down. Eventually, we got something down and were able to finish off a rally or two. It still wasn’t a great offensive night for us, but I give a lot of credit to their pitching. I was so happy to see Brent go out there and have a big game."
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
On his outing tonight…
“It’s definitely a fun game to pitch when you’re playing in a championship game. It was a great experience in front of 10,000 fans. Definitely had my heart going a few times. It was all just surreal.”
On where his performance tonight came from…
“I have no idea where it came from. I just went out there and tried to have fun. It was really exciting. It’s hard to put into words winning a NCAA Regional with LSU, a team that I’ve always dreamt of playing with and always looked up to play because I lived in Louisiana. I don’t know – it just happened I guess.”
SS Alex Bregman
On his offensive performance tonight…
“It’s all because of my teammates. Because of them, I got good pitches to hit today. Everybody one through nine was competing, and that’s all you can ask out of an offense. I think 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 happy they fell.”
On if he had set a goal for 100 hits at the start of the season…
“Not really. It wasn’t really a goal. It’s an honor to have 100 hits in this great league. I didn’t really shoot for that – I shot for higher. So I’m not really satisfied with it. 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. We’re going pretty dang good right now, and we have to keep that up.”
LF Raph Rhymes
On his two-RBI single…
“That was a time in the game where I needed to step up. We had some guys on-base, and we were trying to make something happen – trying to get a good pitch to hit. I got a curveball and went the other way with it.”
On coming through with a big hit after they had struggled to bring runners home…
“We had opportunities early in the game and just didn’t get the job done. We kept battling – I thought we had good at-bats and kept getting runners on. We didn’t do the job early, but we got done with it later on.”
Louisiana-Lafayette Head Coach Tony Robichaux
On the game and the year…
“For one, I thought our team did a great job. I thought [Cody] Boutte did an exceptional job of being taken out of the first game and being put back in a tough environment. Boutte was in the environment he pitched for a national championship at the Junior College level so we just felt good going back out with him. We felt that if he could just locate and keep the ball down, and get his breaking ball going again he could hold on for us. I think if we had made that play it would have been the difference in the ball game. Boutte was starting to get to his limit; that was all we really wanted him to do, was to get us off to a great start. We felt Boutte was the one guy on our staff with enough experience to handle this crowd. Louisiana State University is a very tough place to play. You have to stay away from the three-run inning and we did not do that. Credit LSU in that one inning, and being able to get that three-run inning. Again, I really like our team. There are two seniors who came in tonight and both did good. These guys have a lot of experience and it pays off for them. You have to have experience to get to the next step, which I really believe we have next season with these guys.”
On pitching depth this season…
“Well, I thought the guys did a great job. We hung a lot of zeros and stayed away from the three-run inning fairly well. Game one we lost, but we gave up two, two-run innings. I think Austin [Robichaux], the game he pitched, we had no three-run inning. Pitchers did a great job. We lost almost six arms with guys that signed professional, and one with Tommy Johns. After all the arms we lost, we knew we would hit. I thought we would only go as far as we could pitch. Again, I thought Boutte did a great job of getting us off to a great start in a tough place to play. You just make that play Boutte may get one or two more innings for us. You can tell why they’re [LSU] are good, they have some experience, they have some good arms, and they play with confidence. I think we have gained so much through this weekend for our team. When we drive off tonight they are going to know what it is all about when we start next August.”
Louisiana-Lafayette Player Quotes
P Cody Boutte
On his pitching performances …
My curve ball for the first game wasn’t working for me. The catcher and I got together, we talked about throwing the slider a little bit more. The plan was to go with the curve ball. That wasn’t working for me and got me in some trouble. Coach decided to take me out and save me for the next game. It worked out pretty well for us.”
2B JACE CONRAD
On his RBI in the sixth and facing LSU’s pitching…
“I was just trying to get something going. We were flat all night. I wanted to come out and swing the bat well. I wanted to try to get that run in. I wanted to see if I could be a spark for the team. I wanted to get a fire going for us. Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it. As far as the pitching goes, they kept us off balance. They started a slow lefty first, then threw a hard righty and ended with another slow lefty. If you want to keep a team off balance, that is how you do it.”
LF CALEB ADAMS
On his successful hitting performance and LSU’s pitching…
“I just wanted to get out there and compete. I got two pitches that I could drive. I drove them to the middle. I got those two pitches, and I didn’t miss my pitch. As far as the righty goes, I had a feeling he was going to come out and try to throw breaking balls and stuff. Again, I just wanted to bat as hard as I could. There is always an adjustment in baseball, and we just couldn’t make the adjustment.”
BATON ROUGE REGIONAL - GAME 6 POSTNOTES
LSU’s victory increases the school’s overall NCAA Tournament record to 130-49; 83-19 in regionals; and, 73-14 in regionals played in Baton Rouge.
Alex Bregman, the regional’s MOP, had three hits in the final game giving the freshman shortstop 102 for the season to tie him for the 8th spot in LSU’s all-time single-season hits with Sean Barker (102 in 2002). LSU’s freshman single-season hit record is 103 held by Mike Fontenot in the 2000 season. Bregman is the third freshman to have a 100-hit season. The first was Todd Walker (100 hits, 1992; Walker went on to collect 109 hits in 1993 and 101 hits in 1994)
LSU winning pitcher Brent Bonvillain, 3-0, pitched 5.1 innings, his longest outing of the season and his career. His previous long during the 2013 season was 4.2 inning against BYU on Feb. 23.
LSU All-Tournament first baseman (a unanimous selection) Mason Katz hit his 52nd career double in the first inning to move him to a tie for 9th place on the school’s all-time career list with Clay Harris (2002-2005)
Attendance Paid Actual
Game 1 11,577 9,316
Game 2 10,886 3,851
Game 3 10,632 1,909
Game 4 12,085 10,752
Game 5 10,723 2,066
Game 6 11,838 10,191
Totals 67,741 38,085
The Game 4 “paid” is the largest for a NCAA post-season game at the Baton Rouge regional. The Game 4 “actual” is the largest single-game attendance in Alex Box Stadium history.
The total paid and total actual attendance figures are both record numbers.
The 2012 regional had 6-game totals of 64,343 paid and 34,239 actual.
LSU will face Oklahoma, the winner in the Blacksburg, Va. Regional at a date and time to be determined by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee and announced Monday.
Super Regional sites will be announced Monday at approximately 10 p.m. CDT, via press release and at www.ncaa.com/cws and LSUsports.net.
UL-Lafayette Postgame Notes
Cody Boutte made his second start of the day on the mound for the Ragin’ Cajuns. The New Iberia native started and tossed 1 2/3 innings using 29 pitches in the elimination game earlier in the day against Sam Houston State.
The six walks issued by Cody Boutte marked the most surrendered by a Cajuns pitcher this season.
Cody Boutte tossed 104 pitches in the contest over 4 2/3 innings of work. For the day, Boutte threw 133 pitches over 6 1/3 combined innings (tossed 1 2/3 innings in elimination game with Sam Houston State).
Caleb Adams singled in his first two at bats leading to his second multiple-hit game of the day. In the day’s earlier elimination game, Adams went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBI against Sam Houston State.
Jace Conrad’s RBI double in the sixth inning marked his sixth (6th) RBI of the Baton Rouge Regional, tops amongst all Cajuns hitters. Conrad has posted 20 RBI since May 1, second-most on the squad trailing only 23 RBI from Caleb Adams.
Dex Kjerstad’s attempt to become only the second player in school history to reach 100 base hits was spoiled again as LSU pitching held him to a 0-for-4 showing. Earlier in the day, Kjerstad went 0-for-4 in the elimination game vs. Sam Houston State.
Dex Kjerstad ended the season with 99 base hits marking the second-most in school history. He trails only record holder Nathan Nelson who established the mark with 101 in 2000.
Caleb Adams finished the 2013 season with 16 home runs which ranks tied for fifth (5th) in a single season with Jefferies Tatford (2007).
Caleb Adams was the lone Cajun to hit a home run in the Baton Rouge Regional. Louisiana entered the Baton Rouge Regional with a nation’s best 72 home runs, but was held to just two over four contests.
The Ragin’ Cajuns final home run tally for 2013 was 74 which is tops in the NCAA Division I ranks. It’s the most home runs for Louisiana since posting 76 in 2007. This season’s tally of 74 marks the fourth-most home runs in a single season (83 in 2000; 78 in 2004; 76 in 2007; 74 in 2013; 73 in 1991).
The Cajuns bullpen surrendered four runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Entering the championship round the bullpen had allowed just four runs over 12 1/3 innings in the team’s previous three contests in the Baton Rouge Regional.
LSU pitcher’s combined to hold the Cajuns to a season-low three base hits. The Cajuns were held to the previous season low four hits in the team’s Baton Rouge Regional opener against Sam Houston State.
Louisiana made its first appearance in the NCAA Regional championship round for the first time since appearing in the College Station appearance in 2007. That season the Cajuns reached the championship round through the winner’s bracket.
The Ragin’ Cajuns advanced to the championship round out of the loser’s bracket for the first time since the 1991 appearance in Baton Rouge. That year, then-USL met LSU and dropped an 8-5 decision.
Louisiana and LSU met in a NCAA Regional contest for the first time since the 2002 Regional at the old Alex Box Stadium. LSU increased its NCAA Regional round record vs. the Ragin’ Cajuns to 6-1.
The Ragin’ Cajuns finished with a Baton Rouge Regional record of 2-2. Louisiana concluded its 13th appearance in the NCAA Baseball Championship. The Cajuns all-time NCAA Championship record is now 22-27, which includes a 17-22 mark in the regional round.
BATON ROUGE – Left fielder Caleb Adams slugged a pair of two-run homeruns as second-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette survived a wild ninth inning to eliminate third-seeded Sam Houston State, 7-5, and advance to the championship round of the Baton Rouge Regional on Sunday afternoon in Alex Box Stadium.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (43-19) will now face top seed LSU (54-9) at 7 p.m. The Tigers need only one win to advance to super regional play. Should UL-Lafayette defeat LSU on Sunday evening, a winner-take-all game will be played at 7 p.m. Monday. The Tigers will be the designated visiting team in the nightcap and occupy the third base dugout.
Sam Houston State, champions of the Southland Conference, concluded its season with a 38-22 record. The Bearkats broke a scoreless tie when they struck for three runs in the second inning highlighted by a Ryan Farney two-run homer off ULL starter Cody Boutte, who lasted just 1.2 innings.
The Cajuns immediately answered in the top of the third when they took advantage of two Bearkat errors. Adams crushed the first of his two homers, a two-out, two-run shot into the right field bleachers.
Sam Houston starter Andrew Godail (5-4) suffered the tough luck loss, allowing five runs – none of which were earned – while walking three and striking out seven.
UL-Lafayette reliever Matt Plitt (4-1) picked up the win in relief, working seven innings and allowing only two runs on four hits.
Adams finished 2-for-4 with four RBI and his homer in the ninth proved to be valuable. The Cajuns took a 7-3 advantage into the final frame, but Sam Houston State kept its hopes alive with a two-out rally.
Anthony Azar cranked a solo homer and the Bearkats loaded the bases on Shea Pierce’s fielder’s choice infield single. With the tying run at second, Cajun shortstop Blake Trahan made the play of the game and the final out when he held on to Jessie Plumlee’s shallow pop up down the left field line. Trahan’s grab prevented the tying runs and potential go-ahead run from scoring.
Sam Houston State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
NCAA Baton Rouge Regional
June 2, 2013
Louisiana-Lafayette Head Coach Tony Robichaux
On today’s game…
“I thought (Sam Houston State) had an emotional loss last night. It was tough on them. I knew they would make a push early and they did. They got out to a good start on us. We went ahead and tried to change back the momentum of the game. We went to Matt (Plitt) immediately to try to get the momentum of the game turned around. He did an outstanding job of getting the momentum of the game back turned around. We knew they would make an early push. We couldn’t hold them off early, but Matt came in and really changed the momentum of the game. He did an outstanding job and gave us a chance to win. Caleb (Adams) put a couple good swings on some pitches. He has done that all year for us. He can have one or two tough at-bats and then when its time to be good he is good when it matters. He was able to do that. We were finally able to hold their push off at the end of the game.”
On the ninth inning…
“That was a tough play for (Blake Trahan). The previous play before that his momentum should have taken him to first base to finish the play. He tried to throw the ball back to Jace (Conrad). The umpire made a good call. Give (Sam Houston State) credit for that. It extended the inning and gave them a chance to tie the ballgame. Then on the pop up near the left field line, with a true freshman out there who almost overran it. You’ve seen with LSU, pop ups are tougher than you think. (Trahan) actually dropped it and caught it again on the way down. If that falls that is a hug momentum turn.”
On Cody Boutte’s availability for the Regional Final…
“We didn’t ice (Boutte). I went down there when we pulled him and I told him ‘don’t hang your hat all game. If we could finish this game, we could possibly come back to you again.’ So yes, we would use him again.”
Louisiana-Lafayette Player Quotes
LF Caleb Adams
On his game…
“I’ve been seeing the ball well all weekend but it hasn’t been falling for me. This morning I went to the cage and focused on getting the ball to the middle of the field and getting on top of the ball.”
On getting back…
“I was trying to go more to left field instead of getting it to the big part of the field. It’s the same approach we’ve had all season and it’s worked. Hitters get off sometimes and you just have to go back to the cage. It was my goal today to get inside the ball and start driving it.”
P Matt Plitt
On his outing…
“I tried to do what I was asked to do and put our team in the best position to win. My mindset wasn’t any different than usual.”
On keeping Sam Houston off balance…
“I tried to mix my pitches and throw a lot of strikes. I was just trying to let my pitchers do the rest of the work.”
Sam Houston State Head Coach David Pierce
On the game and the year…
“Honestly, I thought the game was definitely lost on our defense. I thought Andrew [Godail] pitched wonderful; he competed really well. I thought Logan [Preston] was fine. Logan just made one mistake and let the change-up open up. But, these kids have battled for us all year and I am very proud for our university and for our team. It is always tough if you do not win the last one you are going to have this type of feeling. I just visited with Coach Mainieri and you are always thinking base hit, possibly ball in the gap, you win the ball game. But, you go to foul ball out in left field and the season is over. So, it is kind of tough to swallow, a lot of emotions at one time. I’m just so proud of what our players have done. The kids that we came here with two years ago have meshed with the kids we brought in and I just think it is wonderful for us to have an opportunity to play in this environment. What it does is hopefully make our kids a little more hungry to get better, stronger, faster and fully committed to getting back here. That is all I can really say about this season.”
SAM HOUSTON STATE PLAYER QUOTES
P Andrew Godail
On his outing…
“I just went out there trying to throw strikes and give my team a chance to win. We just came up short.”
2B Ryan Farney
On hitting his first home run…
“It’s always nice to get a homerun, and it’s the first of my career. I was just trying to do whatever it takes to win and I just got lucky to get under it a little bit and it got out.”
On his ninth inning at-bat…
“I was just looking for a pitch to drive and I was crowding the plate a little bit. I think he tried to jam me inside and he hit me.”
On going ahead three runs early…
“It was nice to jump out to a lead like that. We feel like we can hit it big any inning and tonight we were just one big hit away from scoring a couple of runs and blowing it open.”
On [Anthony] Azar’s home run and coming up short in the ninth inning…
“[Anthony] Azar has just been a rock for us all year. He gets beat up day in and day out. For him to come up in the ninth inning and lead off the inning [with a home run] with a four run lead. It put some belief in our dugout. Again, we were one big hit away and it just didn’t happen.”
NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL – GAME 5 POSTGAME NOTES
UL-Lafayette’s 7-5 win moves the Cajuns’ NCAA Regional record to 17-21, and its overall NCAA Tournament record to 22-6. Sam Houston State had reached the regional finals in its last two (2011, 2012) regional appearances.
When the Ragin Cajuns take the field against LSU in Sunday’s final, it makes the third time the two schools will have squared off in a Baton Rouge Regional final.
Here’s the record:
1990, LSU 8, ULL 0 (preliminary round)
1991, LSU 8, ULL 5 (final, LSU advanced to CWS)
1998, LSU 15, ULL 6 (preliminary round)
2002, ULL 5, LSU 0 (preliminary round), then on finals day, LSU 12-2, LSU 12-2 (LSU came from losers’ bracket to advance to Super Regional)
Caleb Adams’ two-run home run that tied the score at 3-3 in the third inning marked his first hit of the Baton Rouge Regional. It was also Louisiana-Lafayette’s first home run of the Regional … Adams also homered in the top of the ninth inning to provide the Cajuns a 7-3 lead. That home run gave the Texarkana, Texas, native his fourth multi-home run game of the season … Adams’ four RBI marked his team-leading 15 multiple-RBI contest of 2013. It is the eighth time he’s finished a game with at least three RBI.
Sophomore Jace Conrad successfully executed two stolen bases increasing his team-leading total to 18 in 21 attempts. Conrad’s 18 stolen bases are a personal single-season best. Today’s stolen base tally pushed the Lafayette native over 20 stolen bases in his brief career.
Matt Plitt entered in relief in the bottom of the second inning after SHSU’s Ryan Farney homered to give the Bearkats a 5-3 lead. Plitt would retire the first 15 batters that he faced until the Bearkats collected a two-out single by Ryan O’Hearn in the seventh inning … The 7.0 innings pitched marked the longest relief outing by Matt Plitt. His previous high for innings pitched in a relief effort was 2 2/3 innings against Central Michigan on Feb. 16 in the season-opening weekend … Today’s pitching performance (7.0 innings in relief) was Matt Plitt’s second-longest outing of the 2013 season falling just shy of the 8.0 innings pitched in a start against Southeastern Louisiana on April 24 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Matt Hicks recorded the final out of the contest to increase his single-season record for saves to 11. It was also the 15th save of Hicks’ career, extending the school career record that he established earlier this year.
Louisiana picked up a come-from-behind victory for the second straight day in the Baton Rouge Regional (Cajuns trailed 1-0 to Jackson State after four innings). It is the Cajuns sixth come-from-behind victory since May 12. The Cajuns other come-from-behind wins since May 12 include: second game of South Alabama doubleheader on May 12 (trailed 6-0 in 1st inning); May 16 (trailed 4-2 after seven complete) and May 17 (trailed 4-1 after four complete) at ULM; May 22 vs. FIU (trailed 5-1 after 3 ½ innings) in Sun Belt Tournament.
Louisiana turned two double plays increasing its season total to 66 which ties the mark established by the 2009 squad.
The two home runs by Caleb Adams increased the Ragin’ Cajuns team season total to 74 which is tops in the NCAA Division I ranks. It’s the most home runs for Louisiana-Lafayette since posting 76 in 2007. This season’s tally of 74 marks the fourth-most home runs in a single season (83 in 2000; 78 in 2004; 76 in 2007; 74 in 2013; 73 in 1991).
The Ragin’ Cajuns advanced to their first NCAA Regional Championship contest since appearing in the championship game of the 2007 appearance at College Station.
It’s the first time that Louisiana advanced to the championship game of an NCAA Regional out of the loser’s bracket since the 1991 appearance in Baton Rouge.