LSU entered its winners’ bracket with a plan on the mound, but if there’s one fact of life about playing June baseball in Louisiana, it’s that those plans can change quickly.
Ty Floyd got the start on the mound, allowing just one earned run in three innings. But in the bottom of the third, the game went to a rain delay. Floyd had already thrown 71 pitches, and that pause proved to be the end of his day.
Coach Jay Johnson had to turn to Thatcher Hurd, who could have potentially started a regional final game on Monday if Floyd was able to continue. Instead, he entered in relief in this one trying to overcome a one-run deficit.
He didn’t have the best start, giving up a leadoff homer to begin the fourth and an RBI single later in the inning, but he settled in after that. Coach Jay Johnson praised Hurd’s composure in bouncing back from an early home run.
“I think it was great,” Johnson said according to On3’s Billy Embody. “The home run right off the bat and then Forrester doubled, and then he really got himself in gear and minimized the damage right there. I thought that was huge. And then twice, they had first and second-one out, and when I went out to the mound and he went strike out, strike out both times.
“When you think about a one-run game, leaving the traffic there and getting himself reset, with that type of pitchability gives him the chance to be successful. He was successful tonight. That’s one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time.”
Though Hurd entered in relief, Johnson said the lengthy rain delay allowed him to go through his typical pre-start routine. Ultimately, Hurd pitched five innings. Though he allowed four earned runs, he also struck out 12 batters en route to earning his sixth win of the season in a 6-5 victory.
With Paul Skenes, Floyd and Hurd all unavailable heading into the regional final, the Tigers will have to turn to their bullpen arms to emerge victorious. Still, Johnson said he likes where this team is at in terms of available arms.
The Tigers will face Oregon State in a rematch on Monday at the Baton Rouge Regional final.
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