BATON ROUGE - Southeastern Louisiana came out swinging and hitting LSU ace Alex Lange in the winner's bracket final of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at Alex Box Stadium Saturday night.
The Lions (37-20) put up six hits in the first two innings and took a 5-4 lead with four runs in the second inning with five hits, three stolen bases and a perfectly executed double squeeze sacrifice bunt by Ryan Byers that scored two runs for the lead. LSU tied it 5-5 in the third inning on a RBI single by Beau Jordan.
Byers also led off the game with a home run to left field off Lange, who just didn't seem to have it in the early going. Brennan Breaud and Carson Crites flew out in the inning, but each went to the warning track in right field.
The Tigers (44-17) took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first as Southeastern right-handed ace Mac Sceroler - a nephew of LSU great Ben McDonald - struggled as well with three wild pitches, two walks and a balk while allowing three hits, including a two-run home run by Josh Smith for the 4-1 score.
Kramer Robertson led off the LSU first with a walk, reached second on a wild pitch and scored on Cole Freeman's RBI single. After Antoine Duplantis lined out to second base, Greg Deichmann singled to score Freeman from second to put LSU up 2-1. Zach Watson, who was moved up in the order from No. 9 to No. 5 after two home runs in the 15-7 win over Texas Southern Friday, popped out for the second out. But Smith launched one over the right field wall for the 4-1 advantage. Sceroler walked two more before getting Jake Slaughter to ground out to first.
Slaughter replaced Nick Coomes at first base as Coomes has a bruised thumb, according to LSU's sports information office. Coomes, who had been batting fifth, was 2-for-his-last-13 and neglected to cover first base Friday for an error on a grounder to shortstop.
Webb Bobo started the Southeastern second with a single and stole second. Derrick Mount singled Bobo in to cut LSU's lead to 4-2 and stole second. Lange struck out Drew Avans for the first out, but Daniel Wasinger singled in Mount to cut LSU's lead to 4-3. No. 9 hitter Jacob Seward singled and moved Wasinger to third, and he took second on the throw to third.
Byers then pushed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt between Lange and first base with both runners taking off with the pitch. Seward scored from second as Byers was thrown out at first. Lange gave up yet another single to Breaud and intentionally walked Taylor Schwaner before striking out Carson Crites to end the inning.
The LSU-Southeastern winner advances to an 8 p.m. game Sunday, while the loser plays Rice (32-30) at 3 p.m. Sunday with the winner of that game playing at 8 p.m. - weather permitting. Rice eliminated Texas Southern, 13-6, Saturday afternoon in a game delayed by rain that pushed back the start of the LSU-SLU game from 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
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