LSU clinches CWS berth by taking down Oklahoma
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- JaCoby Jones had four hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs to help LSU beat Oklahoma 11-1 on Saturday night to advance to the College World Series for the 16th time.
LSU (57-9), which tied a single-season school record for victories, used four pitchers, who combined to limit the Sooners (43-21) to five hits and prevented Oklahoma from scoring after it had taken its only lead of the series, 1-0, in the bottom of the first inning.
Will LaMarche (3-0) got the win for the Tigers, who improved to 5-0 in the NCAA tournament.
Dillon Overton (9-3), Oakland's second-round pick in this week's Major League baseball draft, allowed four runs on seven hits before being lifted in the sixth inning.
Ryan Eades, also a second-round pick (by Minnesota), started for LSU, which was playing as the visitor in Game 2 of the Baton Rouge super regional. He was relieved by LaMarche to start the fifth inning following a weather-related delay.
Jones, who tripled in the eighth inning and scored the first run of LSU's 2-0 Game 1 win on Friday night, picked up on Saturday with a run-scoring single in the second inning that tied Game 2. In the fourth, Jones doubled and scored LSU's third run on Jared Foster's two-out single.
Rhymes was 2-for-4, including an RBI double in the top of the ninth, when LSU exploded for six runs to blow the game open. Tigers catcher Ty Ross had two hits and drove in three runs. Jones scored his third run of the game after being intentionally walked in the ninth.
Oklahoma arrived in Baton Rouge on an eight-game winning streak and with pitchers taken in the top two rounds of this week's MLB draft, only to hit a wall against one of the most storied programs in college baseball.
Riding a masterful performance by sophomore pitcher Aaron Nola, the Tigers won Game 1 in a pitchers' duel, breaking through late against Sooners ace Jonathan Gray, who was drafted third overall by Colorado.
LSU racked up 16 hits in Game 2.
Oklahoma scored its only run of the series with one out in the first inning, when Max White lined a 3-2 pitch to right field to score Craig Aikin, who'd led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.
LSU followed the same fundamentally sound recipe to tie the game in the top of the second, with Rhymes' leadoff single, Christian Ibarra's sacrifice bunt and Jones' RBI single.
The Sooners' fundamentals left them in the top of the third, however. Right fielder Haley Hunter let Mark Laird's lined single bounce off his glove and into the right field corner for a two-base error.
Alex Bregman followed with a grounder that first-baseman Matt Oberste booted as Laird came home to make it 2-1.
In the top of the fourth, Jones' aggressive - if not risky - base running turned what looked like a lined single to center into a double. He took third on a ground out and scored on Foster's two-out single.
After four innings, the game was delayed 52 minutes by a severe weather warning. Although the grounds crew pre-emptively covered the infield with a tarp, and fans were encouraged to leave Alex Box Stadium and take shelter in their cars, the weather threat never materialized. Many fans left their seats but lingered in concourses while pleasant weather prevailed throughout the delay.
The Tigers then pushed a fourth run across in the top of the sixth on Ross' squeeze bunt, which scored Rhymes
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