OMAHA, Neb. -- First baseman Sean Ochinko erased a 4-3 deficit in the fifth inning with a three-run homer and Ryan Schimpf blasted a two-run dinger as the top-ranked Tigers outlasted No.5 Virginia, 9-5, in the opening round of the College World Series in front of a crowd of 24, 904 Saturday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The Tigers (52-16) will face Arkansas on Monday at 6 p.m. CT. The Razorbacks defeated Cal St. Fullerton 10-6 earlier on Saturday to advance in the winner’s bracket. LSU defeated Arkansas 2-1 in a three-game series during the regular season in Fayetteville.
Monday’s game will be televised on ESPN and can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats can also be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net.
Virginia (48-14-1) will play Cal St. Fullerton in an elimination game Monday at 1 p.m. CT. The Cavaliers collected 14 hits in the game, including a 4-for-5 performance by second baseman Keith Werman. Tyler Cannon and Franco Valdes also collected three hits apiece for the Cavaliers.
“I thought our defense really kept us in the game, because we didn’t pitch very well early,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We made some great plays on defense, and then we started pitching better in the middle of the game. I thought our hitters really battled tonight; they ran the pitch counts up and did a great job at the plate.”
The winning pitcher for the Tigers was Austin Ross (6-7) who came on in relief, throwing 2.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking none and striking out two.
LSU got out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame when designated hitter Blake Dean lined a two-out double to right and later scored on a single by Gibbs.
Virginia tied the game at 1-1 in the third when second baseman Keith Werman doubled and later scored on a groundout by Danny Hultzen.
LSU responded in the bottom of the frame when LeMahieu led off the inning with a single and reached third when Schimpf followed with a double.
The next batter, Dean, hit a deep sacrifice fly to right, scoring LeMahieu and giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead with one out. Schimpf moved up to third on the play.
Gibbs followed with his second RBI of the game when he laced a single to left to score Schimpf and put the LSU ahead 3-1.
The Cavaliers fought back in the fourth and made the score 3-2 when shortstop Tyler Cannon tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a shallow blooper to right by catcher Franco Valdes.
Werman followed Valdes with an infield single and Ranaudo walked centerfielder Jarrett Parker to load the bases with one out.
Right-hander Paul Bertuccini came out of the bullpen to relieve Ranaudo and retired the next two batters to end the Cavalier threat with the bases loaded in the fourth. A sliding catch by Schimpf in left field saved the LSU lead heading into the bottom of the frame.
Ranaudo turned in his shortest outing of the season, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing two runs on five hits while walking four and striking out three.
Virginia tied the score at 3-3 in the top of the fifth when third baseman Steven Proscia belted a solo homer to left off Bertuccini. It was Proscia’s 10th homer of the season.
The Cavaliers followed with back-to-back singles by Cannon and first baseman John Hicks with one out in the fifth. Cannon later scored on a single by Werman, his third hit of the game, to give Virginia its first lead of the game 4-3.
Right-hander Austin Ross came on in relief for Bertuccini with two outs in the fifth and struck out Parker to end the inning. It was Ross’ first relief appearance of the season.
The Tigers regained the lead in the bottom of the frame when Ochinko blasted a three-run homer to left after Gibbs and Mahtook hit back-to-back singles, giving LSU a 6-4 advantage. Ochinko’s eighth homer of the year was his first since April 3 against Georgia.
Virginia wouldn’t go away in the seventh as Valdes blasted a solo homer to left to pull the Cavaliers within one at 6-5. The previous batter, Hicks, reached base on a single, but was thrown out trying to steal by Gibbs.
LSU extended its lead to 7-5 in the eighth when Austin Nola was hit by a pitch and stole second and scored on a single by LeMahieu. The next batter, Schimpf, laced his 20th homer of the season, a two-run dinger that put LSU up 9-5.
Freshman right-hander Matty Ott closed out the ninth for LSU, striking out Parker to end the game.
Men’s College World Series Notes – Game 1 – June 13, 2009
Game 1: LSU 9, Virginia 5
Attendance: 24,904 (ties Session 2 Record)
LSU plays Arkansas Monday at 6 p.m. (Arkansas is the home team)
Virginia plays Cal St. Fullerton Monday at 1 p.m. in an elimination game (Virginia is the home team)
- Tonight’s attendance of 24,904 ties the Session 2 record originally set on June 17, 2005, when Nebraska defeated Arizona State, 5-3. Today’s attendance for both sessions is 48,453, well ahead of the 44,957 for the first two sessions of the 2008 MCWS.
- With tonight’s win, LSU now has a national-best 52 wins on the season and is the only school in the country with at least 50 wins this season.
- With the win, the Tigers are now 31-19 in 15 MCWS appearances and helped the SEC go 2-0 in the opening day of competition following Arkansas’ 10-6 win over Cal State Fullerton. The last conference to open a MCWS with a 2-0 record in one day was the Pac-10 in 2007 (Arizona State and Oregon State on June 16).
- LSU won its MCWS opener for the first time since the 2000 MCWS, when the Tigers won the last of their five national titles. Prior to tonight, LSU had dropped its last three MCWS openers.
- The Tigers have now won a season-high 11 consecutive games following tonight’s win and have not lost since a 4-1 loss to Vanderbilt in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on May 21.
- The Tigers are now 6-0 in the NCAA Tournament, hitting .342 as a team and averaged 8.2 runs per game in that stretch.
- With two homers tonight, LSU upped its season total to 96, the most among the MCWS teams, and are now 22-3 when hitting at least two homers in a game.
- Anthony Ranauno now has an SEC-leading 149 strikeouts on the season to rank sixth on LSU’s single-season list. It is the most strikeouts by a Tiger sincee Kurt Ainsworth fanned 157 hitters in 1999
- Anthony Ranaudo’s 3.1 inning stint was his shortest outing of the year and the only time in 17 starts where he did not pitch at least five innings. He had thrown at least seven innings in his last five starts, and his previous low was five innings against Villanova on Feb. 21.
- Austin Ross made his first relief appearance of the year, as he started in his first 16 appearances and collected the win with two innings of relief
- Ryan Schimpf is now hitting .458 (11-for-24) with three homers and nine RBIs in LSU’s six NCAA Tournament games after going 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored against Virginia.
- LSU is now 4-0 all-time against Virginia as the teams have not met since the 2000 season
- LSU is now 25-1 this season when scoring at least nine runs in a game this season
- LSU now has 21 come-from-behind wins during the season
- LSU is now 47-0 when leading after six innings
- The Cavaliers are the ninth straight team to lose their first-ever game at the MCWS. The last team to win a MCWS opener was Georgia Tech in 1994. Southern Miss will look to break the streak when they play Texas Sunday night.
- The announced crowd of 24,104 was the largest to ever witness Virginia baseball game. The previous high was 17,860 people vs. Clemson on May 28, 2005 at the ACC Tournament, which was held that year in Jacksonville, Fla.
- The nine runs by LSU are the most Virginia has allowed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and the most runs UVa has allowed since May 15, when Virginia Tech scored nine runs in a 9-8 victory over UVa. Prior to Saturday, Virginia had allowed only 10 runs in its first six NCAA Tournament games (1.45 team ERA) and had not allowed more than four runs in any NCAA Tournament game.
- The nine runs allowed by Virginia marked only the sixth time in 63 games where an opponent scored nine-or-more runs in a game. Virginia entered the MCWS ranked third nationally in ERA at 3.14.
- Second baseman Keith Werman finished with a career-high four hits, going 4-for-5 against LSU. His previous high was three hits against Duke on May 12.
- Danny Hultzen’s five strikeouts upped his season total to 100, which is a Virginia single-season freshman record and ranks eighth on the Cavalier single-season list. Hultzen’s 3.0 inning start was his shortest start of the year. His previous season low was a 3.1-inning stint against Georgia Tech on April 11.
- Tyler Cannon’s triple in the fourth inning marked UVa’s 28th triple this season, setting a school record. The 1993 team previously held the record with 27 in a season.
- Third baseman Steven Proscia hit UVa’s first CWS home run and now has 10 homers, the most by a UVa rookie since Sean Doolittle hit 12 in 2005.
NCAA Men’s College World Series
Game 2: Virginia vs. LSU Post-Game Press Conference Quotes
Hall of Fame Room, Rosenblatt Stadium
Saturday, June 13, 2009
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri:
(opening statement): “That was a game we haven’t had for most of the season, where we had a subpar performance from our starting pitcher. Our defense made some great plays to keep us in the game, then our offense came to life and gave us some separation.”
(on which hit was the biggest): “The bats came to life midway through the came, Ochinko’s home run was the big knock. It was nice to win the first game of the College World Series one time; this is the first time we’ve done that in a long time.”
(on the defensive plays): “When Schimpf came in after that diving catch in the outfield, I told him that he’d really improved since the early innings ... All the plays were very important. Our defense kept us in the game, because we weren’t pitching very well. [Virginia] 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.”
LSU outfielder – junior Ryan Schimpf:
(on his home run Saturday): “He left a pitch up, a change-up, and I put a good swing on it. It wasn’t even the biggest spot of the game though – Sean [Ochinko]’s home run was big too.”
LSU first baseman – junior Sean Ochinko:
(on his home run Saturday): “It was good to be able to help the team and drive in some runs, even though I struck out three times too... I was just happy to help the team. I’m not going to lie to you guys, that [home run] was the most important baseball moment of my life. ”
LSU pitcher – senior Louis Coleman:
(on the state of his shoulder for Monday’s start): “[My shoulder] is feeling fine, and I’m definitely ready for Monday. I’ve done this a couple times before [a relief appearance two days before a start]... This was actually one of the fewest number of pitches I’ve thrown [in a relief outing] all year.”
(on being on the winning end of the first game of the CWS): “We’ll definitely sleep easier tonight having a win under our belts. We’ve got to get ready for a great team on Monday. It’s nice to have a couple of days off, but we’ve got a tough team to face Monday in Arkansas.”
Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor:
(Opening statement): “It was a great college baseball game up until the 8th. They were very aggressive. You play a team like LSU and not make plays, they’ll burn you. Give LSU credit. We left 13-14 runners on base. LSU made the plays. We couldn’t come up with the big hit. I’m proud of our club.”
(on taking Danny Hultzen out of game): “He’s been our guy all year. He’s nineteen years old. He’s a special pitcher. He had a tough time putting LSU away. LSU did a nice job of battling.”
(on responding): “I’m not worried. Our team showed resiliency. Team has tremendous pride. We’ll be ready to play on Monday.
Virginia catcher Franco Valdes:
(on hitting in bottom of lineup): “The bottom of the lineup is doing well. They pitch less to us. It helps team as a whole.”
Virginia second baseman Keith Werman:
(on hitting in bottom of lineup): “Getting on base gives guys in the top a better chance to make things happen.”
Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen:
(on LSUs hitting game): “LSU is very talented and I made some bad pitches. They took advantage and gave us trouble.”