LSU baseball team completed a sweep of Missouri, and even in a clo..."/> LSU baseball team completed a sweep of Missouri, and even in a clo..."/>

LSU baseball sweeps Mizzou, shows traits of a champion


The LSU baseball team completed a sweep of Missouri, and even in a closely contested ballgame today, showed why they are the best team in the country.

It was not pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly from the beginning.

Starting pitcher Kyle Bouman had a rocky outing to say the least. After retiring the first batter of the day, he allowed the next two on base, giving up a walk and a single. The next batter, Missouri’s Josh Lester, belted a three-run shot to left.

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Instability at the No. 3 spot in the pitching rotation has given the LSU Tigers headaches all season long, but nobody expected what happened today. Before they even picked up the bats they were already down in a 3-0 hole.

What LSU did next, however, is exactly what National Champions do; step up in the face of adversity and answer the call.

Recently removed from the Sunday starter role after several weeks of shaky performances, Austin Bain stepped to the mound out of the bullpen; one-third of an inning into the game and facing a three  deficit.

Bain mowed down the first six batters he faced, and gave the LSU offense time to get their act together. As always, they did just that. LSU scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and arguably had a third taken away from them, as the potential go-ahead run Kade Scivicque was called out at home on a very close call.

Scivique redeemed himself, however, bringing in the go-ahead run during the next inning as LSU put two more runs on the board. The lead was short-lived, however, as Ryan Howard hit a solo home run to the left field bleachers to tie the game up in the sixth, the only blemish on Bain’s two-hit outing. Without missing a beat, LSU’s Chris Chinea answered with a solo shot of his own, putting LSU up by a run.

Adversity would find the Bayou Bengals again, however.

Just as they appeared to be wrapping up a comeback win, Mizzou answered with a run in the top of the 9th to tie things up. Extra-innings was not any kinder to freshman closer Jesse Stallings. In addition to blowing the save in the ninth inning on an unearned run, he gave up two hits and allowed a runner to reach third to start the extra frame. He was replaced by sophomore Russell Reynolds.

Reynolds managed to keep the run at bay while recording the first out of the inning. After an intentional walk, though, the bases were jammed with only one out. Fittingly, on his final regular season home game at The Box, Connor Hale stepped up big time with a double play to end the inning.

Hale picked up his third hit of the day to start the bottom of the 10th, a single up the middle. Scivicque then sent him from first to third with a double on the next pitch, before Jake Fraley brought the senior home for a thrilling 6-5 walk-off victory.

Today’s performance was nothing like the blowouts of the past two nights, but a win like this is even better in that it tells you so much more about a team.

It would have been easy to cave after the three-run bomb given up one-third of an inning into the game, but they did not. It would have been easy for Kade Scivicque to get discouraged by a questionable out call on a game-tying run, but he came through the next inning with a go-ahead RBI.

Most importantly, though, it would have been easy to be lose control after being taken to extra innings and with the potential winning run standing 90 feet from home, but the LSU Tigers did not.

They rose to the occasion instead. Every time any adversity came about, they came back stronger, and more resilient than ever.

Does LSU have some major concerns heading into the postseason?

Absolutely, but so does every team that has dreams of reaching Omaha, and the Bayou Bengals are not just another team with dreams of making it to the College World Series.

This LSU baseball team desperately wants to bring the CWS title back to Baton Rouge, and while outclassing their opponent like they have for the past two games is a great sign, the resiliency they showed today in the face of adversity is what will carry them to that dream.

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