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|Watkins' walk-off double gives LSU thrilling win|
LOS ANGELES -- Twice down to their final out, the LSU baseman (41-20) team found a way to force extra innings, then loaded the bases with two outs in the 11th inning, and got a two-RBI walk-off double by Trey Watkins to beat UC Irvine (37-20), 11-10, in the NCAA Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Second-seeded LSU will face the winner of UCLA and Kent State at approximately 8 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television and streamed online by www.espn3.com (blackouts apply in certain markets where CST is available).
UC Irvine fell into the loser's bracket and will face the loser of UCLA and Kent State at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday.
After falling behind 10-9 on a suicide squeeze in the top of the 11th, LSU was down to its final out in the bottom half of the inning. LSU was able to load the bases when UC Irvine ace Eric Pettis (5-5) walked Austin Nola, gave up an infield single to Alex Edward, and walked Leon Landry. Watkins, who entered as a pinch runner in the 10th, doubled over the head of Madigan in right field to score Nola and Edward to beat the Anteaters.
The Tigers haven't lost a first-round regional game since 1985, and are on the road for an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1989.
LSU used seven pitchers, including Ben Alsup (5-0) who received the win after pitching the 10th and 11th. Starter Austin Ross threw 6.1 innings allowed five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.
In the top of the second inning, the Tigers fell behind 2-0 a home run by catcher Francis Larson off Ross.
LSU answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, as Matt Gaudet reached on a two-base throwing error on UC Irvine starter Daniel Bibona, advanced to third on a single by Mason Katz and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mikie Mahtook. An RBI single by catcher Micah Gibbs tied the game.
A solo homer by Edward in the fourth gave LSU its first lead, 3-2.
UC Irvine matched the effort with a solo blast by leftfielder Ryan Fisher in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3.
LSU again took to lead with four runs in the bottom of the fifth including a three-run homer by Gibbs to 7-3 lead. Gibbs finished 2-for-5 with five RBI.
After Ross was lifted in the seventh inning, UC Irvine scored two runs in the top of the seventh, eighth and ninth to take a 9-8 lead off five Tigers relievers.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, LSU first baseman Blake Dean hit an opposite field single against a defensive shift that included four outfielders and no third baseman.
Nola hit a line-drive single to right field that landed just under the glove of diving rightfielder Sean Madigan. As the ball squired past Madigan, LSU pinch runner Johnny Dishon came around to tie the game at 9-9 moments before the relay throw arrived at home plate.
LSU had a two on with two outs in the bottom of the 10th but Pettis struck out Tyler Hanover to end the rally.
In the top of the 11th, the Anteaters led off the inning by drawing a walk by Jeff Cusick. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Fox, and to third on a pinch-hit single by Ronnie Shaeffer. A suicide squeeze bunt by Larson pushed across the go-ahead run.
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(Report courtesy lsusports.net)