Baseball Blasts Minnesota, Advances to Super Regional
BATON ROUGE -- Catcher Micah Gibbs’ four-hit performance led LSU’s 17-hit barrage as the Tigers stormed past Minnesota 10-3 to capture the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional title Sunday night at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (49-16) captured their 18th NCAA Regional title. LSU will host an NCAA Super Regional next weekend at Alex Box Stadium against the winner of the Houston Regional, either Kansas State or Rice.
The NCAA will announce tomorrow at 10 p.m. CT if the Super Regional will begin on Friday or Saturday of this week.
LSU baseball season tickets holders have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to purchase books to the NCAA Super Regional. These can be purchased online, in person at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office, or by calling (225) 578-2184.
LSU extended its win streak to eight games in capturing the 18th NCAA Regional title in school history. The Tigers captured the regional title after winning the SEC regular-season and SEC Tournament championships over the previous two weekends.
“Obviously, we’re very excited to have won the regional and get a chance to advance to the next level,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “This makes three weekends in a row that we’ve won a championship. I don’t think winning championships ever gets old; it’s always a lot of fun. This championship is a unique one because there are no trophies given for this championship – we have to win next weekend to get another trophy.”
Louis Coleman (12-2) had another brilliant performance, throwing 7.2 innings and allowing one run on five hits while walking none and striking out eight. Coleman was named to the All-Regional team along with catcher Micah Gibbs, shortstop Austin Nola, first baseman Sean Ochinko and outfielder Jared Mitchell.
LSU right hander Anthony Ranuado was named Most Outstanding Player at the Baton Rouge Regional for his magnificent nine inning performance Saturday night against Baylor when he allowed only three hits and struck out 14.
LSU took a 3-0 lead in the second inning when DJ LeMahieu doubled to right center, scoring Micah Gibbs and advancing Sean Ochinko to third. The next batter, third baseman Derek Helenihi singled up the middle to score Ochinko and LeMahieu.
Ryan Schimpf doubled a few batters later to score Helenihi and put the Tigers up 4-0.
The Tigers increased their lead in the third to 5-0 when Blake Dean belted a solo homer over the wall in left. It was Dean’s 15th homer of the year.
LSU continued scoring in the third when Ochinko singled to right to plate Gibbs and give the Tigers a 6-0 advantage. LeMahieu followed with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Mikie Mahtook and putting LSU ahead 7-0.
The Tigers added two more in the sixth when Dean singled home Jared Mitchell and Gibbs followed with an RBI double to make the score 9-0 in favor of LSU.
Minnesota got on the board in the bottom of the seventh when catcher Kyle Knudson hit a solo homer to left center off Coleman to make the score 9-1. It was Knudson’s fourth homer of the season.
In the top of the eighth the Tigers responded when Schimpf blasted a solo homer deep over the right field wall to increase the LSU lead to 10-1. The homer was Schimpf’s 18th of the season.
Minnesota added two runs in the ninth when first baseman Nick O’Shea launched a two-run homer to left to make the score 10-3.
LSU HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI
“Obviously we’re very excited to have won the regional and get a chance to advance to the next level. This makes three weekends in a row that we’ve won a championship. I don’t think winning championships ever gets old; it’s always a lot of fun. This championship is a unique one because there are no trophies given for this championship – we have to win next weekend to get another trophy.
“I thought it was a very hard fought weekend starting with the Southern game where they had us down 2-0 and we had to scratch back to get back into it, and finally we were able to pull away. Of course last night was the pivotal game. The difference between winning and losing last night cannot be overestimated or overstated; you either have to win one more game or three more games. Fortunately for us, we were in the position where we only had to win one more and it was pretty apparent to me that Minnesota was running low on their pitchers and that’s the advantage that we had by staying undefeated through two games. But I don’t think it really would have mattered with the way Louis (Coleman) was throwing. He was in total control out there and our defense was good behind him except for the first play of the game, and then we got some big hits there. It was a very methodical victory tonight.
“Just because we didn’t dog pile don’t think we aren’t excited about this victory. It was a great championship for us to win, and now we have to move on and take on either Rice or Kansas State next weekend with a chance to go to Omaha. We’ve said that we need five wins and we now have three down, two to go.”
On finishing with a well-balanced game and scoring early...
“I went to my son Tommy’s baseball game this morning with my other son Nick and e were talking about how today was going to be the day we were going to put it all together. We were going to pitch, play defense and hit and go on to a nice victory today. It was good to get those runs early. The first inning, Jared (Mitchell) got us started and then we got caught stealing on a hit-and-run. It probably wasn’t a very good decision by me because the (Minnesota pitcher) looked kind of nervous and wasn’t throwing many strikes and I had (Ryan) Schimpf hit and run on a pitch out of the zone and then Mitchell got thrown out. I kind of messed up that inning right out of the gate. But then in the second inning we started swinging the bats well. I very much expected us to hit well. Minnesota was really very thin on their (pitching) staff and I felt like we would get a lot of chances to hit and we didn’t miss that many of them.”
On how important it was for P Louis Coleman to finish the first inning without giving up a run...
“That whole sequence of when we got the leadoff hitter on and didn’t score and then they got theirs on and then had a first and third with only one out and then Louis gets a big strikeout and then gets the next guy just to keep everything even right out of the gate. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been in these games, when you go to bed the night before a championship game and then you wake up there’s a little anxiety about that game coming up and it’s always nice if you don’t fall behind and can keep it even early because it gives you a chance to get your feet. It was great to get the early lead. You know one thing when you give Coleman a lead is that he’s going to throw strikes and not let them back in the game by our own mistakes. He’s the ultimate competitor out there.”
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
“I came out there trying to throw strikes, and I knew our guys would start swinging the bats extremely well like they’ve been doing all year. They came out and gave me a lot of runs early on, so it made it a lot easier for me to throw the ball over the plate and try to force some action.”
On struggling with an error in the first inning...
“I just tried to keep hitting my spots. Helenihi doesn’t make many errors at all. For him to make that error raised my confidence in him that it wouldn’t happen again. There was never any doubt in my mind that the guys behind me wouldn’t do their work.”
On separations from ability to pitch with a lot of runs scored...
“It makes it easier to pitch, but at the same time you don’t want to give up a lot of runs. I still pitch like it is 0-0. Even if you do give up a solo or a run here and there, you know that your guys are swinging the bats and you have a lot of runs, so it’s more of not walking people and throwing strikes.”
DH Blake Dean
“I think I started off slowly this weekend, and it felt good to finally come out and get some hits and give some support. Our pitchers pitched phenomenally this weekend. It’s hard to beat (Louis) Coleman and (Anthony) Renaudo. Renaudo battled; Coleman came up today and set the tone to get a few runs, so it made it a lot easier to take the stress off his back. We went out there and played well.”
On advantage of scoring runs early in the game...
“The one thing about our team is that we hit and pitch. It’s been obvious the whole year. It’s just a matter of time before our hitting catches on. We always battle all the way through, and we have good hitters and the pitchers to keep us right in the game. It takes that one swing or base hit to get ahead and then the pitcher can come in and shut them down.”
“The way the pitchers threw this whole weekend was huge. They’ve been doing it all year for us and the way they did it in the regionals was awesome. The Baylor game was amazing. It was the first extra-inning game of the season. We had some big momentum in the eight to tie it up, so that was great for Anthony to come out and shut them down and then Matty to finish it off. The way they did that was awesome to see. With hitting, I just saw the pitches well today.”
On advantage of scoring runs early in the game...
“It definitely takes a lot of pressure off of the pitchers. When you have Louis (Coleman), Anthony (Renaudo) and Austin (Ross) pitching for us if we can get hits in early, that’s awesome. When we can keep piling on runs, the pitchers can throw strikes and force some action.”
HEAD COACH JOHN ANDERSON
Opening statement ...
“First of all congratulations to LSU they have an outstanding ball club. Congratulations on winning the Regional we wish them the best of luck in the Super Regional. I also want to pay compliments to the LSU staff here and the people that run this championship and to the people of Baton Rouge. They have all done an outstanding job. It’s always a pleasure to come here. The hospitality is always wonderful and the fans are awesome. This is a great place to play baseball the atmosphere is amazing. I’m glad our kids had the chance to be apart of something. As for the game goes, we obviously were thin on the mound. We tried to do the best with what we had to work with. It’s a tough task when you are pitching Louis Coleman he is an outstanding pitcher. He’s done this to a lot of people in college baseball so it’s nothing new. He put on a great performance tonight. I’m most proud of our kids that competed and played hard. I thought they embraced the opportunity they had here tonight even though coming in they knew the odds were against them. They played for nine innings and as a coach that’s all you can ask from your team. My first losing season as a coach was last year and where we are today is very satisfying and gratifying. I take my hat off to these players. They have busted their tales since we have been together since the fall. I could not be prouder of them and this special group. I will always remember them for their effort this year.”
On Louis Coleman ...
“What can you do against Louis Coleman. He showed tonight why he is a great pitcher. He executed some great pitches and struck out second and third batters out and our fourth and fifth hitter are just as good but it just shows you what kind of pitcher he is. When he had to go back for a little extra he was able to go back for extra and improve. The great ones can dial it up when needed and that’s why Coleman (Louis) is a great one. He gets the outs he needs.”
On the call made to throw Tyler Oakes out and the pitching coach ...
“They said that Tyler gestured at one of the umpires after the umpire had giving the bench a warning. I did not see him gesture nor did I hear the umpire warn the bench. I would have told the guys to clam down. It was a great and emotional moment. The difficult part for what happened out there was that Tyler is the pitching coach’s son and is a senior making this his last game. We were going to pitch him today if we thought we needed him. That’s the emotional part that as his father and pitching coach it was difficult. He did not go out there to argue the call he was disappointed that they threw his son out the game, which at the time seemed meaningless at the time. I know that the umpires are instructed to do their jobs and call the plays and run the game as they see fit. You have to understand the emotion on the other side. I apologize for what happen out there but you have to understand the emotion from our side as a father.”
MINNESOTA PLAYER QUOTES
2b Derek McCallum
On his experience at the tournament and his hitting ...
“It was a blast. When we came down one of the coaches said it would be quite the environment to play in and we weren’t sure what to expect. It was an awesome place to play. As far as my weekend goes, I guess I saw the ball ok this weekend. It’s a bummer to end the season like this. We knew we were coming into a tough team tonight, but we were running out of gas with two games in one day.
On LSU pitcher Louis Coleman ...
“We looked at his stats before the game and he had pitched like a million innings with only 11 walks. That was extremely impressive.”
On the game against LSU ...
“I think we might have felt a little bit like the underdogs coming into this tournament. We got a two seed, but we were playing with two Louisiana teams and obviously a great Baylor team. We felt like the underdog going in and the extra games wore on our pitching staff. We were confident the whole way through, and we knew it would be a battle.”