BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU will try to bounce back from a 5-4 loss to Houston when the two teams meet again Monday night to determine which one of them advances to the NCAA Super Regionals.
Sunday night's game was quite a nail-biter for LSU baseball fans, as the Tigers started out strong, but the Cougars roared back to pull off the win in 11 innings of play.
Those LSU Super Regional tickets were just about ready to be printed and put on sale Monday, but instead, the Tigers find themselves one loss away from their season coming to a shocking and bizarre end.
The jarring left turn in the second game LSU played against Houston in the regional left the team a bit numb and reaching for one of the game's true clichés.
Following first baseman Tyler Moore's controversial inside-the-park homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning, the LSU Tigers appeared to be coasting toward the super regional round. Perhaps, that is what happened - the Tigers started coasting. Houston, on the other hand, had every reason to throw up their hands and say, "This just isn't our night." However, that didn't happen.
"Coach laid the ground rules down. It looked like to us, everybody saw the ball underneath the fence and the ball was right there. All he had to do was pick it up, we thought," Scivicque explained.
"No comment," said Houston outfielder Kyle Survance, when asked about the inside-the-park homerun.
"Now, looking back on that thing, that kind of jump started us a little bit," said Houston head coach Todd Whitting. "We come right back and we respond after that."
LSU's inability to protect a 4-0 eighth inning lead is what will sting the most.
"It looked like we had an insurmountable lead and (Kyle) Bouman was phenomenal - six shutout innings, couldn't ask for anything more out of him- he pitched great and our bullpen's been so fantastic," said LSU head coach Paul Maineri. "In the eighth inning, to their credit, they put the bat on the ball and the ball just kept finding holes and so that was a little bit of the difference in the game. They put the ball on the ground and found some holes. We put the ball in the air and they made catches."
And the situations just get bigger and bigger for young Alden Cartwright, the LSU true freshman from Runnels High School in Baton Rouge.
"Yes, I am starting," Cartwright said. "Cartwright is probably … we'll sleep on it, but that probably would be our best option," Maineri added.
"Their hitters aren't anything overpowering. We definitely have faced a lot better in the SEC. We just have to go out there … or I just have to go out there and pound the zone, get hitters out and try to get them out early and pounce and let my pitch count stay down so I can go farther in the game then hand the ball over to other relievers," Cartwright said.
So now, it can be argued that all of the pressure is on LSU. But, what else is new?
"We've got one game to play and we're playing for a championship and I know our guys are going to be ready to go," said Maineri.
"It's frustrating. We still have a game left. It is the championship. Win and go on. Let's do it," said Broussard.
"I will say this - I know Tyler is, I know I am - going to leave every ounce of energy we have out there on that field and we're going to do everything possible to win that game," said short stop Alex Bregman. "We're going to have fun and let it rip."