LSU needed a rally in the bottom of the ninth to beat the BYU Cougars, and the Tigers responded with two runs to take a 6-5 victory on Thursday at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU stayed perfect on the season with a 6-5 come-from-behind win over BYU on Thursday
Aaron Nola was the starter for the Tigers and he went six innings and allowed four runs – all earned – and had a career-high three walks.
BYU went with Desmond Poulson and he had a rough go as well by allowing six hits and three runs over five frames.
“This game was really a grind from the beginning,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, “but I’m extremely proud of our players for earning the win against a very solid BYU club. We fell behind early, battled back, and fell behind again but our players never doubted themselves. It’s much nicer to be on the positive end of a game like this. We’re pleased to win tonight, but we realize there are areas in which we need to improve.”
LSU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Mason Katz led off with a solo home run to leftfield. This was Katz first home run of the season.
The Cougars responded immediately in the third as Jacob Hannemann got things going with a one out walk. Hayden Nielsen was next to the plate, and he hit a single to right that allowed Hannemann to advance to third base. BYU’s third baseman Adam Law followed with a single into left field that plated Hannemann.
Clean-up hitter Jaycob Brugma then delivered a big blow with a three-run bomb that easily cleared the fence in left-centerfield to put the Cougars up 4-1. Nola was able to settle down after a visit from Coach Paul Mainieri and retired the next two Cougar batters to get out of the inning.
The Tigers bounce back in the bottom half of the third.
After a Mark Laird (4-5) double and a Raph Rhymes walk, Jacoby Jones kept his hot start to the season going with a two RBI double to the gap in right-center that closed the gap to 4-3.
LSU knotted the game at 4 in the seventh when Alex Bregman hit a high fly ball to shallow right that fell just inside the foul line that pushed another run across.
BYU responded in the eighth when Nielsen led off with a single up the middle off Will LaMarche’s glove. Freshman lefty Hunter Deval came in for LaMarche and faced one batter before giving way to Joey Bourgeois, who was credited with the win.
LSU entered the final stanza down,5-4, but the Tigers would not be denied victory.
Junior third baseman Christian Ibarra stepped up to the plate with one out and belted a fastball into the leftfield bleachers.
Sciambra drew a walk on four straight pitches and the Tigers loaded the bases for Rhymes with back-to-back singles from Laird and Bregman.
The returning SEC batting champ delivered with a long fly ball to left field to score Sciambra from third and pushed LSU’s record to 5-0 on the year.
“If you want to be a championship team you have to win games like this,” said Mainieri. “These kinds of wins build the confidence of the team.”
If the Tigers want to make it to Omaha and win it all, they should expect plenty more games like the one tonight.
LSU faces Southeastern Louisiana on Friday at 7 p.m. and BYU again on Saturday.
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