LSU 2, UNCW 0 - NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
With his 119th pitch at
1:09 a.m. CT Sunday, SEC Freshman of the Year Alex Lange earned
his 12th strikeout in a complete-game shutout that put the LSU baseball
team in the NCAA Regional final, 2-0, over UNC Wilmington.
Lange (11-0) stood at the edge of the mound, raised his arms to the sky and listened as the crowd roared in celebration.
earlier, the same sky opened in the bottom of the fifth inning of NCAA
Regional game 3 and caused a three-hour, 16 minute rain delay. The
start of LSU and UNCW was pushed from 8 p.m. to 10:15, but it didn't
keep the LSU faithful away.
LSU (50-10) advanced
to the winner's bracket final on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT when the Tigers
will meet the winner of the 3 p.m. elimination game between No.
2-seeded UNCW and No. 3 Tulane.
Alex Lange showed why he's a first‑team all‑American, first‑team
all‑SEC, freshman of the year in the SEC, should be national freshman
of the year, might be national pitcher of the year, and he doesn't care
at all about those kind of things,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “All
he cares about is winning and helping his team. He's the next in
the long line of humble superstars that we've had around here, guys
that just care so much about the team more than anything else.
But man, what a performance!”
pitch wasn't working tonight,” Lange said. “The beginning of the game
was a battle. I felt like I grew up tonight during the
game. I was missing spots at the beginning, walking guys, giving
up hits, leaving balls up, but I was able to pitch out of some
jams. Defense picked me up great like they've done all year, and
we were able to manage to stretch a couple runs across. I'm just
really thankful for that.
“But it was a
battle. I had a lot of reflecting to do in the dugout and try to
figure stuff out, but in the end I came through with it and figured it
The Tigers scraped across single runs in
the top of the seventh and ninth to give Lange just enough breathing
room. After midnight, LSU finally found success against UNCW starting
pitcher Evan Phillips in the seventh.
Kade Scivicque hit stand-up double off the left-center field wall
before Andrew Stevenson ripped the first pitch he saw through the
right side to put runners on the corners. Chris Chinea hit the
next pitch from Phillips to right, scoring Scivicque and sending
Phillips to the dugout.
Phillips (2-2) took the
loss despite giving up only one run on eight hits with three strikeouts
and no walks. He was lifted in favor of hard-throwing Jordan Ramsey,
who allowed singles to Stevenson and Jake Fraley in the ninth
before giving up a run on an RBI groundout by Jared Foster.
who became the first LSU freshman to record 100 strikeouts in a season,
closed out the ninth inning with three-straight Ks.