Todd Politz, LSU Director of Digital Media
BATON ROUGE — Florida State used 10 walks to go with two home runs by Reese Albert to overcome a 4-0 deficit and defeat the Tigers, 6-4, in game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional series on Saturday.
The Tigers and Seminoles will meet in game 2 on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be televised by ESPN2 and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network beginning at 4:30.
Despite losing starter Cole Henry after only two innings, LSU (40-25) amassed a 4-0 lead after he and reliever Todd Peterson held the Seminoles hitless through five innings.
However, in the top of the seventh, Albert hit a three-run homer deep to right field to tie the game at 4-4. Florida State added runs in the eighth on a sacrifice fly and in the ninth on a solo homer by Albert.
“Obviously, an extremely tough loss today for us,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We were up 4-0, and I thought we were doing a tremendous job against a really tough competitor in (FSU starting pitcher) Drew Parrish. We were up 4-0 but it felt like we could have been up further than that. We squandered a couple opportunities early where I felt like we really could have extended the lead.”
Henry worked through the first inning in 11 pitches, but walked the bases loaded in the top of the second. Though he struck out No. 9 hitter Tim Becker to end the threat, it was the last batter he faced before leaving with an injury.
“It was heartbreaking to have to take Cole Henry out of the game with some arm soreness,” Mainieri said. “Todd Peterson came in and was absolutely heroic. He was phenomenal. I don’t know if he has thrown 80 pitches in a game all year and I thought he threw great. He gave us the extension we needed to make up for having to take Cole out.”
The Tigers put the first run across in bottom of the second, as Daniel Cabrera was hit by Drew Parrish’s 0-2 pitch to lead off the inning. Another walk to Cade Beloso and a passed ball put runners in scoring position, when Brandt Broussard singled to center field to drive in Cabrera.
Peterson took over for Henry in the third and tossed 3 1/3 hitless innings.
Meanwhile, LSU added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth. In the third, Josh Smith doubled to right field and moved station-to-station on groundouts by Zach Watson and Antoine Duplantis to give LSU a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, an RBI single by Chris Reid scored Beloso from second to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead, which could have been a bit more had Saul Garza not been called out at second on appeal for missing second base on Beloso’s double (by rule, a fielder’s choice).
The Tigers tacked on another run in the fifth on singles by Smith, Watson and Cabrera to lead 4-0.
After a one-out walk to Drew Mendoza by Peterson, Florida State broke up the no hitter in the sixth inning, as clean-up hitter Robby Martin singled through the right side. With two outs, FSU catcher Matheu Nelson singled on a high chopper to third base that scored Mendoza.
The Seminoles chased Peterson following a one-out base hit in the seventh. After entering in an unexpected situation, Peterson threw 4 1/3 innings allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
LSU reliever Trent Vietmeier walked the first batter he faced before allowing a three-run home run to Reese Albert that tied the game at 4-4. Albert hit the 11th pitch of the at bat down the right field line for his eighth home run of the season.
Seminoles reliever Chase Haney was lifted after allowing a walk to Hal Hughes to start the bottom of the seventh. Lefty Antonio Velez allowed only a two-out single to Duplantis before getting out of the inning.
Zack Hess entered in relief of Devin Fontenot (5-3) in the eighth with one out and runners on first and second. After a four-pitch walk loaded the bases, Becker hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Nelson to give Florida State the lead, 5-4.
Albert again homered to right to start the top of the ninth, putting Florida State ahead 6-4.
Reid started the bottom of the ninth with a single to left center to bring the Tigers faithful back to life. However, pinch hitter Giovanni DiGiacomo popped out to center and Josh Smith struck out on a 3-2 breaking ball. Zach Watson walked to bring Duplantis to the plate as the potential go-ahead run. However, Duplantis popped-up to the catcher to end the game.
“I’m proud of our guys, I thought they played hard today,” Mainieri said. ‘They gave it everything they had. I hurt for them, but we don’t have any time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to win tomorrow or the season is over. They are going to have some time to digest it and get ready to go tomorrow behind (LSU’s Sunday starting pitcher Landon) Marceaux. Hopefully we will play just a little bit better.”
Attendance was announced as 11,636.