Less than an hour before Saturday's win or go home matchup, the Tigers urgently huddled around coach Mainieri in the third base dugout. They had just become aware that the Beavers were going with Bryce Fehmel on the mound instead of Drew Rasmussen, who they originally announced as the starter on Friday.
Despite the fact that LSU prepared for Rasmussen, Oregon State's last minute switch didn't catch them off guard. Instead, it made them mad.
"We kind of took it personal," says shortstop Kramer Robertson, who went 3-for-3 Saturday. "We almost took it as a compliment like, 'OK. If you're going to hide who you're starting and try to lie about it, that means, I don't want to say you're scared, but that means you're worried about us.'"
Beavers head coach Pat Casey says he made the decision Saturday morning.
"We just felt it was in our best interest to make sure we had Rasmussen at the end of the game," says Casey. "And Fehmel was so good against them early, it was something we decided to do this morning visiting with those two guys and coach (Nate) Yeskie."
It didn't work, especially against Mike Papierski. LSU's junior catcher who continues to enjoy the best hitting stretch of his career tagged Fehmel for two home runs, one from each side of the plate. He's the first documented player to do it in College World Series history.
"Every time I go up, I'm just trying to get in positive counts, 0-0, 2-1, 3-1 etc.," says Papierski. "Once you get in a positive count, you can pretty much predict that a fastball's coming. I put a good swing on a couple of fastballs today, and the wind helped out a little bit."
Also eating off the Beavers' pitching was junior Beau Jordan. Despite a few run-scoring sacrifice bunts this week, he's been missing the big, game-changing hits. He clobbered a standup double and solo home run in his first two at-bats.
LSU's 6-1 victory over the Beavers gives them a lot of momentum headed into the championship series, where the Tigers have never left empty-handed.
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