OMAHA, Neb. -- LSU’s four home runs led a 16-hit barrage and starter Anthony Ranaudo threw six shutout innings as the top-ranked Tigers stormed past Arkansas 14-5 Friday afternoon at Rosenblatt Stadium to advance to the championship series of the College World Series.
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The Tigers (54-16) will Texas in the championship series. The best-of-three championship series will begin Monday at 6 p.m. CT. LSU will make its sixth appearance in a College World Series final, but its first since the tournament went to a three-game series in 2003.
The series will be televised on ESPN and will air on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats can be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net.
LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo (11-3) gave a solid performance, throwing six innings and allowing no runs on only four hits while walking none and striking out five.
The game was originally scheduled to start at 1:08 p.m. CT, but heavy rain in the area delayed the first pitch two and a half hours to 3:38 p.m. CT.
“ I’m just very proud of the way the guys came out and played today,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “A lot was made about the long layoff we had since Monday’s game. We just treated it like a weekend series without any midweek games. We had three good practices and these guys were just chomping at the bit to play someone in different-colored uniform.
“You saw the real Anthony Ranaudo today, he had good velocity, a good fastball and even got a few changeups over. He was kind of hard to live with this week, hard to talk to because he wanted to get out there so bad. Nobody wants to win more than he does, he is a great teammate and there was no way he was going to let his team down today.”
Arkansas left-hander Stephen Richards started the game well, striking out DJ LeMahieu and Ryan Schimpf before surrendering a double to Blake Dean. The next batter, Micah Gibbs, slapped a single up the middle to score Dean and give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
LSU made the score 2-0 in the third when shortstop Austin Nola led off with a single and scored after LeMahieu walked, Schimpf singled and Dean reached first on an error. Mikie Mahtook made the score 3-0 when he lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score LeMahieu from third.
Schimpf advanced to third on Mahtook’s sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch from reliever Mike Bolsinger to put LSU ahead 4-0.
The Tigers got on the board again in the fifth when Blake Dean crushed a solo homer to right to give LSU a 5-0 advantage. It was Dean’s 17th homer of the year and his second of the College World Series.
In the sixth, right fielder Jared Mitchell blasted a solo homer to the opposite field in left off Razorback reliever TJ Forrest to make the score 6-0 in favor of LSU. The homer was Mitchell’s 10th of the season.
For the third time in three innings, the Tigers launched a solo homer with one out. In the seventh, Ryan Schimpf lifted a dinger over the wall in right to give LSU a 7-0 lead.
The Tigers weren’t finished in the seventh as Dean walked and advanced to third when Gibbs reached base on an error by Forrest. The next batter, Mahtook, ripped a single to right, scoring Dean and putting LSU up 8-0.
First baseman Sean Ochinko made the score 9-0 later in the inning when he laced a double down the left field line, scoring Gibbs. It was Ochinko’s fourth RBI in this year’s College World Series.
Later in the seventh, LSU loaded the bases when Mitchell walked with Mahtook and Ochinko already on bases. Mahtook crossed the plate on a wild pitch, making the score 10-0. The next batter, pinch hitter Tyler Hanover, crushed a double off the wall in right to plate Ochinko and give the Tigers an 11-0 lead.
The Razorbacks finally got on the board in the seventh when centerfielder Brett Eibner hit a two-run homer to right field off LSU right-hander Austin Ross. Eibner’s 12th home run of the year cut the deficit to 11-2.
LSU went up 13-2 in the ninth when Hanover blasted a two-run homer after a Nicholas Pontiff single. The homer was LSU’s fourth of the game, their highest home run total in a College World Series game since June 1, 1998 against Mississippi State when the Tigers hit six homers.
The Tigers increased their lead to 14-2 in the ninth when Chad Jones singled home LeMahieu.
Arkansas centerfielder Chase Leavitt belted a three-run homer to right field off Matty Ott to cut the deficit to 14-5. Right-hander Paul Bertuccini got the final out of the game when got Jarrod McKinney to groundout to Hanover at third.
Though very pleased with Friday’s victory, Mainieri said his team remains focused on attempting to win LSU’s sixth CWS title.
“Today was kind of like winning the regional,” Mainieri said. There was no dogpile because we know there is more work to do.”
Men’s College World Series Notes – Game 11 – June 19, 2009
LSU 14, Arkansas 5
Attendance: 19,734 (2009 Series Total-247,943)
- LSU (3-0) wins Bracket One advances to the MCWS Championship Finals beginning Monday night. The Tigers will meet either Texas or LSU in the MCWS Championship Finals. Arkansas (2-2) is eliminated from the MCWS with its second loss.
- With LSU’s win today, it guarantees the first top-eight National Seed to win an NCAA title since Rice in 2003 (No. 1 Texas and No. 5 Arizona State are in the Bracket 2 Championship). LSU was the No. 3 National Seed.
- LSU will bid to become the first Bracket One winner to win a MCWS since Miami (Fla.) in 1999. The last team from the SEC to win a national title was LSU’s 2000 team. It is also the third time in five years that a Southeastern Conference team has advanced to the MCWS Championship Finals.
- The 13 pitchers used (8 by Arkansas, 5 by LSU) ties the MCWS single game record. Nebraska (7) and Clemson (6) also combined to throw 13 pitchers on June 14, 2002.
- The start of today’s game was delayed two hours and 30 minutes because of inclement weather.
- The Tigers have now won a season-high 13 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.
- With today’s win, LSU advances to the MCWS Championship Finals for the first time since the MCWS Championship Finals began in 2003. The Tigers are 5-0 when playing for a national title in program history. LSU has never played either Arizona State or Texas for a national title.
- With today’s win, LSU now has a national-best 54 wins on the season (Arizona State is 2nd with 51 wins).
- LSU (8-0) remains perfect in this year’s NCAA Tournament. No team has gone undefeated in the NCAA Tournament since the MCWS Championship Series was established in 2003. The last team to go undefeated in the NCAA Tournament was Miami in 2001.
- LSU went 3-0 in four of its previous five national title seasons (2000, 1997, 1996, and 1991).
- With today’s win, LSU improves to 33-19 (.634) in its 15 MCWS appearances, a winning percentage that now ranks fourth in MCWS history. If Arizona State loses tonight, LSU would move into third all-time in winning percentage.
LSU has now scored in the first inning of 30 of their 70 contests this season (26-3) and are now (42-6) when scoring first. The Tigers have out-scored foes 64-31.
- LSU is now 25-0 this season when scoring at least 10 runs.
- LSU has scored three runs in an inning seven times in its three MCWS games this season.
- LSU has hit 104 home runs on the season, reaching the 100-homer plateau for the second straight season. LSU’s back-to-back 100-homer seasons are the first time at LSU since a four-year stretch between 1996 and 1999. LSU’s 104 homers are the most of any team in MCWS and the most by an LSU team since also hitting 104 homers in 1999.
- LSU is now 24-3 when hitting two or more homers in a game this season.
- LSU is now 49-22 all-time against Arkansas, including four straight wins in 2009 after Arkansas won the series opener, 11-4.
- Anthony Ranauno now has an SEC-leading 154 strikeouts on the season to rank sixth on LSU’s single-season list. It is the most strikeouts by a Tiger since Kurt Ainsworth fanned 157 hitters in 1999. That also marked the last time a Tiger pitcher led the SEC in strikeouts.
- Anthony Ranaudo has pitched five or more innings in 17 of his 18 starts, as he went six innings against LSU. With today’s win, Ranaudo has won his last six decisions dating back to May 8.
- LSU improves to 8-2 all-time against SEC teams in the MCWS.
- LSU’s five homers against Arkansas marked the third time this year LSU has hit five or more homers in a game this season.
- With his homer and two RBI, Blake Dean has 44 career homers (8th all-time at LSU) and 189 career RBI (6th all-time at LSU).
- Ryan Schimpf went 3-for-5 with a homer today and is now hitting .484 (15-for-31) with four homers and 11 RBIs in the NCAA Tournament. In Omaha, he is hitting .545 (6-for-11) with six runs scored in three games.
- LSU is hitting .351 and averaging nine runs per game in eight NCAA Tournament games and is hitting .368 and averaging 10.7 runs per game in the MCWS.
- With the loss, Arkansas is now 2-2 in the 2009 MCWS and 9-12 in its six College World Series appearances. The two wins Arkansas had at the 2009 MCWS was the most the Razorbacks have had since 1985.
- Arkansas will tie for third in the MCWS, the third time in program history Arkansas has finished third or better (1979, second; 1985, third).
- The start by Arkansas’ Stephen Richards was his first of the season and second of his three-year career. His previous start was on April 3, 2007, against Northern Colorado, when he allowed four runs on four hits over two innings of work.
- Stephen Richards went 2.0 innings against LSU, which was his longest outing since going 3.0 innings on Feb. 20. He had pitched only 2.2 innings in his three NCAA Tournament appearances – including 0.1 innings against Virginia on June 17 in his only other MCWS appearance.
- The eight pitchers that Arkansas used against LSU tied the single-game MCWS record for pitchers used in a game, previously held by North Carolina against Rice on June 5, 2007.
- Arkansas held LSU to just 13 runs in the three-game series in May, but allowed 14 runs today and 23 runs against the Tigers in two contests in Omaha.
- Jacob House collected his second multi-hit game of the MCWS by going 2-for-3 against LSU. House was 6-for-8 in his five NCAA games, including 4-for-6 in two MCWS appearances.
- The 14 runs allowed by Arkansas was its second-highest total of the year, as Mississippi scored 16 runs on May 16.
Arkansas falls to 19-15 against ranked opponents this season.
- Arkansas is now 16-16 when a starter foes less than five innings and 18-18 when an opponent scores first.
- Arkansas is now 2-9 when scoring two runs or less this season and is 0-6 when allowing 10 or more runs in a game.
- Brett Eibner belted a two-run homer in the seventh inning to account for Arkansas’ first two runs. Eiber drove in five RBI in his last two games and finished the MCWS with a .308 (4-for-13) average with two homers and five RBI.
- The three-run homer by Chase Leavitt in the ninth inning marked his first RBI in nine NCAA Tournament games. Prior to today, Leavitt’s last RBI was against Florida on May 22. It was also Leavitt’s first homer since April 15.
NCAA Men’s College World Series
Game 11: LSU vs. Arkansas Post-Game Press Conference Quotes
Hall of Fame Room, Rosenblatt Stadium
Friday, June 11, 2009
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri:
(opening statement): “I don’t have a lot to say, I’m just very proud of the way the guys came out today. A lot was made and being asked about the long layoff. We just treated it like a weekend series without any midweek games. We had three good practices and these guys were just chomping at the bit to play someone in another colored uniform.”
(about Anthony Ranaudo bouncing back from his first outing): “You saw the real Anthony Ranaudo today, he had good velocity, a good fastball and even got a few changeups over. He was kind of hard to live with this week, hard to talk to because he wanted to get out there so bad. Nobody wants to win more than he does, he is a great teammate and there was no way he was going to let his team down today.”
(about his team’s mindset following the win): “It was kind of like winning the regional, there was no dog pile because we knew there was more work to do.”
LSU starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo:
(on why he had a better outing in this game than last): “I had a bad outing last time. I didn’t have good command and that’s what gets you into trouble. Today I pounded the zone early and the offense scored early and gave me time to relax and go out and compete.”
LSU DH Blake Dean:
(on the team’s current winning streak): “I didn’t know about the 13-game hitting streak until just now. I think it’s tough to beat us right now with the way we’re pitching and hitting. I have to agree with Ryan that we’re peaking at the right time.”
LSU outfielder Ryan Schimpf
(on the team’s current winning streak): “We don’t’ really think about winning streaks. We look at it as just another ballgame. The team’s doing a great job and we’re peaking at the right time.”
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn:
(opening statement): “I’m really proud of our team fighting back at the end of the year. I told them I wasn’t going to get emotional because I’m just too proud of them. There’s only one place to end your season, and that’s on that field out there.”
(about today’s game): “LSU was just too strong, and we just didn’t have enough to hold them down. (Starting pitcher Anthony) Ranaudo was too good. He threw a lot better today than his first time out.”
(about the home run in the bottom of the ninth): “If we were going to lose, it was nice to see us do that.”
Arkansas left fielder Brett Eibner:
(about the difference in facing Anthony Ranaudo early in the season and now): “The first time we faced him this season he was a little wild. Today, he was getting the whole plate, he threw well and hit spots inside and out.”
(about Arkansas’ postseason run): “We’re a good team, we knew we could do it. We hit a bump in May, but I’m glad we could rebound and get here.”
Arkansas shortstop Ben Tschepikow:
(about Arkansas’ postseason run): “We knew we were capable of it as a team. We faced some tough teams in the SEC, it was a tough stretch. We kept a positive mentality and kept working hard. We got hot at the right time; we always knew we were a good team.”