Caleb Gilbert gave up only one run in seven-plus innings and Michael Papierski hit a pair of home runs as LSU advanced into the championship series of the CWS with a 6-1 victory against Oregon State on Saturday afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU second inning – With two out, Josh Smith walked and Beau Jordan doubled. Papierski hit a three-run homer over the rightfield fence. LSU 3, OREGON STATE 0
LSU third inning – Kramer Robertson walked and advanced to second base on a hit-and-run ground out to the shortstop by Cole Freeman. Robertson scored on a single by Antoine Duplantis. LSU 4, OREGON STATE 0
LSU fourth inning – With one out, Papierski hit a solo home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 5, OREGON STATE 0
LSU sixth inning – With one out, Jordan hit a home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 6, OREGON STATE 0
Oregon State eighth inning – With one out, Michael Gretler hits a solo home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 6, OREGON STATE 1
KEY STRETCH OF GAME
With Gilbert dominant on the mound, LSU would not need too many runs. The Tigers broke loose for three runs in the bottom of the second thanks to Papierski’s homer. With two out and no one on base, Smith walked. Jordan then hammered a high pitch for a double down the leftfield line. Papierksi gave LSU a 3-0 led with a home run over the rightfield fence on a three-ball, one-strike count pitch.
KEY TEAM STATISTICS
LSU outhit Oregon State 8-3. Half of the Tigers’ hits went for extra bases – three home runs and one double. . .The Beavers stranded four runners – two in scoring position. Oregon State was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. . .LSU stranded four runners – one in scoring position. The Tigers were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position. . .There were no errors in the game.
INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
Kramer Robertson: 3-for-3, 1 run
Michael Papierski: 2-for-3, 4 RBIs, 2 runs scored, 2 home runs
Beau Jordan: 2-for-4, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 home run, 1 double
Caleb Gilbert: 7.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Bryce Fehmel: 2.1 innings, 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
LSU’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gilbert was even more effective than Lange in handing Oregon State a second straight defeat. Gilbert held the Beavers scoreless until Gretler hit a home run with one out in the eighth. Only two other Oregon State batters reach base – Trevor Larnach walked and KJ Harrison singled in the fourth. The walk and single came with two out. Gilbert got Jack Anderson to hit into a force play to end the inning. Gilbert retired the first 11 batters he faced. Then. Gilbert set down another 11 consecutive hitters between Harrison’s single and Gretler’s home run. The 7.1 innings and the seven strikeouts were career-highs for Gilbert. The victory was the seventh of the season for Gilbert.
Gilbert’s comments: “It was a surreal feeling to pitch your team into the College World Series finals with your backs to the wall. I had all the faith in my teammates. I attacked their hitters early with the heater. I got ahead of the hitters. They are really a scrappy team. They try to put the ball in play and try to get deep into the count. I had to throw that first-pitch strike and make them pay for it. I also had to get the first hitter out in each inning. That takes away from their offensive style when you get that first guy out. The umpire was giving me about two balls off the plate and I took advantage of that.”
Slaughter was in the starting lineup for the third consecutive game at first base. . . Papierski and Jordan combined for five of LSU’s six RBIs. Papierski hit a three-run homer and a solo home run. Jordan hit a double before Papierski’s first homer and a solo home run. . .Robertson ended a 1-for-18 slump in the College World Series by collecting three singles and drawing a walk. . .Only four Tigers players had a hit – Robertson, Papierski, Jordan and Duplantis. . .Brandon Eisner allowed Papierski’s second home run. . .Drew Rasmussen, who was expected to start for Oregon State, gave up one run and three hits in 4.1 innings of relief. . .Papierski was the first player to hit two home runs in a College World Series game in seven years. TCU’s Bryan Holaday hit two homers against UCLA in 2010. The last LSU player to hit two home runs in a CWS game was Brad Cresse against Southern California in 1998. . .The last LSU player to homer from both sides of the plate in a game was Todd Linden against Alabama in 2001. . .It had been eight years since the Tigers hit three home runs in a College World Series game. Jared Mitchell, Ryan Schimpf, Blake Dean and Tyler Hanover hit home runs against Arkansas in 2009. . .Gilbert was the first LSU pitcher in 24 years to throw seven shutout innings in a College World Series game. Brett Laxton shut out Wichita State in the 1993 championship game. . .Zack Hess got the final five outs. He allowed a single to Steven Kwan and a walk to Nick Madrigal to start the ninth. Hess struck out Larnach, retired Harrison on a pop up and got Anderson to hit into a force play. . .Oregon State finished the season with a 56-6 record. . .LSU is 52-18. . .When needing to defeat a team twice to advance in the NCAA tournament, the Tigers have never lost the second game after winning the first game. . .LSU will be playing for the national championship for the seventh time in school history. LSU has won five national title games and one championship series.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri’s comments: “It was unbelievable what Caleb Gilbert did. I can’t tell you I went to bed last night thinking that Caleb would give us seven shutout innings. I never dreamt that Michael Papierski would hit two home runs and Beau Jordan would hit one. Papierski is one of the greatest kids I’ve ever met. The first half of the season he struggled at the plate, but he still played great defense. His three-run homer got us going today. This game showed the depth of our team, the quality of our players. The whole team played well. The kids embraced the challenge of beating an unbeatable team like Oregon State. They take a lot of pride in our program. Now, we move on with a chance to play for a championship.”
LSU will play either Florida or TCU in the first game of the championship series of the CWS at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha on Monday. First pitch will be at 6 p.m. Central. The Gators (49-19) played the Horned Frogs (50-17) for the Bracket 2 championship Saturday night. The Tigers lost two of three games to Florida in Gainesville and lost to TCU in Houston during the regular season. The first game of the championship series will be available on ESPN.