BATON ROUGE — Trailing 2-0 with the Tigers’ offense struggling at the plate, junior left-hander Jared Poche’ sat down 16 straight Rice Owls and allowed the LSU baseball team to mount a home run laden comeback and win the NCAA Regional, 5-2, on Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU has won 17 of its past 20 games and Tuesday’s victory was the Tigers’ 21st come-from-behind win this season.
LSU (45-19), which won its 22nd NCAA Regional title in 29 all-time appearances, advanced to host Coastal Carolina (47-16) in a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional starting Saturday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Game 2 of the series will begin at 8 p.m. CT on Sunday on ESPN2 or ESPNU, with the “if necessary” game 3 on Monday at either 12, 3 or 6 p.m. CT. The Chanticleers defeated North Carolina State to advance on Tuesday.
Ticket information for the NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional will be announced Wednesday.
“The game turned around when Jared Poche’ entered the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He threw six innings probably about as well as he’s ever thrown. He’s pitched a lot of great games for us, but I don’t know if he’s ever had a more important one and a better one.”
The Tigers had a difficult time against Rice starter Willy Amador until the seventh inning. A sacrifice fly by designated hitter Bryce Jordan put LSU on the scoreboard with one out before first baseman Greg Deichmann hit a 417-foot, two-run home run off a stuffed ‘possum mounted atop an ESPNU camera in center field that gave the Tigers their first lead, 3-2.
“Deichmann’s home run was a special moment for everybody,” Mainieri said, “and we were glad to be a part of it.”
Deichmann, who was 3-for-4 with two RBI, was named the Regional Most Outstanding Player after going 9-for-15 with three runs and 10 RBI in four games.
Another homer by Michael Papierski to lead off the eighth inning pushed the advantage to 4-2. A two-out double by Kramer Robertson gave the Tigers the final margin.
Poche’ (9-4) earned the victory with six innings of nearly perfect relief. He allowed only one hit with six strikeouts, setting up Hunter Newman’s eighth save of the season. Poche’ fired 69 pitches and retired 18 of the 19 Rice batters that he faced.
Rice’s Amador (2-2) kept the Tigers off balance for the first six innings. He left the game with one out in the seventh, one batter after Deichmann’s home run. Amador was charged with three runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
The Owls scored single runs in the first and second inning to chase LSU starter Jake Latz, who worked 1.1 innings with one walk and one strikeout. Reliever Russell Reynolds recorded the final two outs of the second inning before Poche’ took the mound to start the third.
— Bill Franques Sr., Associate LSU SID
2016 NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
P – Alex Lange, LSU
P – Glenn Otto, Rice
C – Hunter Kopycinski, Rice
1B – Greg Deichmann, LSU
2B – Grayson Lewis, Rice
SS – Kramer Robertson, LSU
3B – Connor Teykl, Rice
OF – Jake Fraley, LSU
OF – Craig Brinkerhoff, Utah Valley
OF – Charlie Warren, Rice
DH – (tie) – Dominic DiCaprio, Rice; and, Daniel Midyett, Southeastern
MOP: Greg Deichmann, LSU