HATTIESBURG, Miss. – LSU rightfielder Josh Pearson’s fielder’s choice grounder scored leftfielder Josh Stevenson from third base with the winning run Saturday night as the Tigers defeated Southern Miss, 7-6, in 10 innings in the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional at Pete Taylor Park.
LSU improved to 40-20 on the year with the victory, while Southern Miss dropped to 44-17.
The Tigers will play at 6 p.m. CT Sunday against the winner of the 1 p.m. CT elimination game between Southern Miss and Kennesaw State. The LSU game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and streamed live on ESPN +.
If LSU wins the Sunday night game, the Tigers are the regional champions and advance to next week’s NCAA Super Regional. If LSU loses the Sunday night game, the Tigers must play either Southern Miss or Kennesaw State again at 3 p.m. CT Monday in order to determine the regional champion.
Trailing 6-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, LSU erupted for four runs to tie the game, and the Tigers captured the victory in the bottom of the 10th.
“It was a great night for college baseball, a great night for our team and a great night for our program,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “I’m proud of the players again. We said it yesterday and we have this saying that there’s no clock in baseball. No team has probably exhibited that better than our team here in the last two days.
“I’m proud of their competitive fight. There’s a lot of baseball to be played, so we’ll turn our focus to tomorrow.”
LSU reliever Paul Gervase (4-1) was credited with the win as he worked a scoreless 10th inning with one strikeout. USM reliever Garrett Ramsey (5-1) suffered the loss as he was charged with the game-winning run in 0.1 inning with two hits, one walk and one strikeout.
Centerfielder Dylan Crews launched a one-out solo homer – his 22nd of the year – to start the ninth-inning rally and reduce USM’s lead to 6-3. After third baseman Jacob Berry flied out to right field, LSU rightfielder Josh Pearson singled and second baseman Cade Doughty followed with his 13th homer of the year to narrow the deficit to one run.
First baseman Tre’ Morgan was hit by a pitch, and Drew Bianco was inserted into the game as a pinch runner for Morgan. Bianco stole second base, and the scored on shortstop Jordan Thompson’s single up the middle. Ramsey struck out designated hitter Gavin Dugas to send the game into extra innings.
After Gervase retired the side in order in the top of the 10th, the Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame as catcher Tyler McManus singled, Stevenson was hit by a pitch and Crews walked.
Pinch runner Collier Cranford was forced out at home on Berry’s ground ball, but Pearson chopped a pitch into the infield turf to allow Stevenson to score the winning run ahead of the throw from USM shortstop Dustin Dickerson.
LSU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Morgan.
Southern Miss responded with two runs in the top of the second when first baseman Christopher Sargent led off with a single and second baseman Will McGillis delivered a two-out homer to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the second when McManus launched a solo homer, his 10th dinger of the season.
USM regained the lead in the fourth on an RBI single by third baseman Danny Lynch, and the Eagles extended the margin to 4-2 in the fifth on rightfielder Carson Paetow’s solo homer, his 14th blast of the year.
The Eagles added a run in the seventh on catcher Rodrigo Montenegro’s RBI groundout, and USM expanded the lead to 6-2 in the eighth on first baseman Christopher Sargent’s 21st home run of the season.