Baton Rouge, La. — Florida State rallied from a 4-0 deficit, scoring 6 unanswered runs in the final 4 innings to take game one of their NCAA Super Regional series with LSU. The Seminoles went-on to defeat the Tigers by the final of 6-4, taking the the 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
The Tigers’ troubles started early, when freshman starter Cole Henry only lasted 2 innings and was pulled because of arm soreness. In that brief outing, he walked 3, struck out 3 and threw 41 pitches against the 9 batters he faced. LSU actually held a no-hitter against the Seminoles into the 6th inning, thanks to the work of Todd Peterson out of the bullpen, coming into the game in the third inning. He pitched into the 7th inning, going 4 and a third, giving-up 3 hits and a run and striking-out 4. He threw 79 pitches and faced 18 batters.
“We squandered a couple of opportunities early where I think we really could have extended the lead and kind of kept them in the game,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “It was heartbreaking to have to take Cole Henry out of the game with some arm soreness, but Todd Peterson came in and was absolutely heroic. He was phenomenal. I don’t know if he’s thrown 80 pitches in a game all year. I thought he threw great. I thought he gave us the extension that we needed to make-up for having to take Cole out.”
The problem with the pitching was in the 10 walks the Tigers allowed, and the FSU batters going deep into the count nearly every at bat. The Seminoles wore-down the LSU pitching staff, scoring all 6 runs off the 4 bullpen guys that pitched the final 7 innings.
“Unfortunately they put some good at bats against us but we helped them a lot,” Mainieri said. “We just walked too many batters. It seemed like if we didn’t walk them we were a full count on everybody. Florida State’s known for trying to draw a lot of walks. They’ve led the country in drawing walks for a few years. We knew that. We’ve just got to be a little more aggressive in the strike zone and just make them hit the ball more. And ultimately it came back to bite us.”
“Just patient,” Peterson said of the FSU hitters. “They took a lot of pitches. They kind of made you come into the zone and fill-up the strike zone and throw strikes and they were just patient and it got to us.”
“We just put ourselves in a tough situation every time we’re going full count on them,” Mainieri said. “We’re not able to use off-speed pitches because you don’t want to walk them and even still, we walked 10 batters today. We knew Florida State’s approach is a very patient approach. We’ve played them two times two years ago in the College World Series and we knew that that’s their style of play. We were prepared for it. We just had a tough time executing throwing it over the plate.”
Game two between LSU (40-25) and Florida State (40-21) is Sunday at 5:00 p.m. CT, with the Tigers starting another freshman pitcher, Destrehan’s Landon Marceaux.