Stony Brook evens LSU series
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Tyler Johnson threw a three-hitter and allowed an unearned run, and Stony Brook defeated LSU 3-1 on Saturday to even the super regional series at one game each.
LSU (47-17) could not muster the late-inning magic of the series opener, when the Tigers hit three game-tying homers before winning a rain-postponed game in the 12th inning Saturday morning.
Johnson improved to 12-1, and now Stony Brook (51-13) is one victory from its first College World Series, with the final game of the best-of-three series slated for Sunday. LSU, a six-time national champion, will be seeking its 16th trip to Omaha.
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"We have run up against some good pitching. These kids from Stony Brook are good," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We just have to do a little bit better tomorrow."
Kevin Courtney was 3 for 3 with a homer for the Seawolves, while Sal Intagliata and William Carmona each hit run-scoring singles.
LSU starter Kevin Gausman (12-2), who won Game 1 by pitching the last inning, lasted seven innings in Game 2, giving up three runs on six hits and striking out six.
The loss was LSU's first in 10 NCAA home games in their 10,000-seat stadium since it opened in 2009.
"The story of the game is we just could not get to Johnson -- we only had three hits," Mainieri said.
The Stony Brook senior was just a week removed from throwing 229 pitches in four days during the Seawolves' run through the Coral Gables, Fla., regional, but it didn't matter. Johnson forced LSU hitters into pitcher's counts and bad swings, as he worked through nine innings in 127 pitches.
"I was thinking about it today, after I finished," said Johnson. "But I think you might have to bury me in (LSU's) Alex Box field. As much as I'd like to, I don't know if (that many pitches is) going to happen (Sunday). I'd do anything for this team, but I might fall apart."
Gausman, who was dominant in the first two innings, seemed to lose his command as intermittent showers passed over Alex Box Stadium in the bottom of the third.
Courtney doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on Intagliata's one-out single up the middle with the infield drawn in.
Intagliata went to second on Travis Jankowski's sharp single, advanced to third on a fielder's choice and scored on Carmona's single, giving the Seawolves their second 2-0 lead in as many games.
Courtney made it 3-0 with his fourth homer of the season, a towering shot to right field in the bottom of the fifth.
LSU cut it to 3-1 in the top of the sixth when Raph Rhymes singled home JaCoby Jones, who'd collided with Courtney on an infield single and advanced to second when the throw got away.
Johnson did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.
"He's a great pitcher; he works both sides of the plate with a good sinker, and a good slider he can throw in and out to both lefties and righties," said LSU's Mason Katz, who couldn't manage a hit against Johnson.
Saturday's action started at 10:05 local time, when Friday's thrilling first game of the series was resumed in the top of the 12th.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri elected to put Gausman, the Game 2 starter, on the mound for the resumption of Game 1. The move played out ideally for the Tigers when Gausman retired the side in order and Katz singled home Tyler Moore in the bottom of the inning to cap a 5-4 victory in a thrilling game that took two days to complete.
"With Kevin only throwing 12 pitches to get through that inning, I had no qualms about him starting for the second ballgame," Mainieri said. "Let me say this, what he did today for our team was really heroic."
The fact that Katz and Moore, who led off with a single, both had key hits in the winning rally was fitting. They each had crucial home runs Friday as LSU prolonged their wild super regional opener with the Seawolves with game-tying homers in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings.
Frankie Vanderka (2-3) took the loss for Stony Brook, getting only one out on Austin Nola's sacrifice bunt that moved Moore into scoring position.
Vanderka then intentionally walked JaCoby Jones, who had hit the Tigers' dramatic tying homer in the ninth, setting up Katz's winning single on a liner to left center.
Information from GeauxTigerNation's David Helman and The Associated Press was used in this report.