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|Gausman, Baseball Move Into Regional Final, 7-1|
BATON ROUGE -- Kevin Gausman may not have had his best stuff on Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium, but the sophomore LSU righty got an early lead and guided the Tigers into the NCAA Regional driver's seat, 7-1.
LSU (45-16) advanced to face the winner of Sunday's 1:30 p.m. CT elimination game between second-seeded Oregon State (39-19) and fourth-seeded Louisiana-Monroe.
First pitch for the Tigers is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) and the Jumbo Sports Network (Cox Sports Television in Baton Rouge).
NCAA Regional Central
Saturday's attendance of 10,367 was the largest in LSU baseball history. The paid crowd (11,535) was the largest in postseason history.
"It was such a good team victory," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "It was sort of a weird game; the tempo of the game was very slow. They laid off a lot of (Gausman's) pitches, but we swung at a lot of bad pitches. We kind of grinded our way through tonight and got ourselves a victory. We're going to put it in our back pocket and move on to tomorrow."
Gausman (11-1), making his first career NCAA start, gave up seven hits and three walks but held Oregon State to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. While Gausman threw 129 pitches, the Beavers stranded nine runners and scored their lone run with three-straight two-out singles in the top of the third inning.
"I've had Kevin now for almost two full years, and nothing the kid does amazes me anymore," Mainieri said. "He has gotten better every week. Today, maybe, he wasn't as sharp as he's been in previous weeks. He just showed another side of himself, how he could just battle through not being as fine as he normally is. A kid with lesser mental toughness would have probably started to pout and feel sorry for himself and let things get out of control. He just keeps battling right through it.
"He didn't have a 1-2-3 inning until about the sixth inning. It was a struggle for him, but he just kept fighting and fighting. I thought his last couple of innings were his best innings of the game."
Nick Goody pitched a perfect ninth for LSU.
Oregon State starter Dan Child (6-4) took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout in 5 1/3 innings of work. Three Beavers relievers combined to keep the Tigers hitless until an Austin Nola RBI triple in the eighth.
But, the Tigers did their damage early then leaned on Gausman and then Goody to finish off Oregon State.
LSU got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second, as catcher Ty Ross and designated hitter Grant Dozar each singled to open the inning. Both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Edward and Ross came home on a groundout by Tyler Hanover for a 1-0 lead. After Arby Fields was hit by a pitch, Nola drove in Dozar with an RBI single to center.
After Gausman allowed a run in the top of the third, the Tigers answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. Mason Katz was hit by a pitch to start the frame and Raph Rhymes singled up the middle. Each advanced on a wild pitch by Child, and Katz came home on a RBI groundout to second by Ross. A single to left by Dozar plated Rhymes to put the Tigers ahead 4-1.
Despite a putout at home plate, LSU added to its lead in the sixth when Fields reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt and came around the score on a wild pitch.
The Tigers added two more runs in the eighth when Fields was again hit by a pitch with two outs and scored on a triple by Nola. Nola scored on a wild pitch to give the Tigers a 7-1 advantage.