CWS: Longhorns get even with LSU
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) ó One night after his shortest outing of the season, Taylor Jungmann turned in his longest and best.
Now Texas and LSU have a showdown for the national title.
The Longhorns’ freshman All-American limited LSU to five hits in his first complete game, and Russell Moldenhauer hit his record-tying fourth home run of the College World Series as Texas evened the best-of-three finals, 5-1 over LSU on Tuesday night.
“Saving it for the end, man,” Jungmann said.
The top-seeded Longhorns (50-15-1) forced a winner-take-all game Wednesday night for the championship.
“I’m sure Augie is going to empty the cupboard, we’re going to empty the cupboard,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, referring to Texas coach Augie Garrido. “Who could ask for a better script? One last game for the national championship. One team is the No. 1 seed, the other is No. 1 in most of the polls. Two historical teams. It’ll be pretty hard to sleep tonight.”
LSU (55-17), which had averaged 9.5 runs in its first four CWS games, had its 14-game winning streak end.
Jungmann (11-3), who entered Game 1 as a reliever and threw six pitches all for balls before getting pulled, came back to win his third game in Omaha. The other two wins were in relief.
This one marked the first complete game in the CWS since 2006.
A thunderstorm pushed back the start by 1 hour and 34 minutes. Garrido said the delay helped Jungmann, because the temperature dropped from 97 degrees to 82 and the humidity was knocked down.
“When we first got to the ballpark, it was steaming,” Garrido said.
“It helped him finish the game. He was brilliant. His teammates got him an early lead. The best thing for a pitcher’s curveball is a four-run lead.”
LSU starter Aaron Ross (6-8) lasted only two innings in his first CWS start. Mainieri said he knew trouble was looming when Ross walked Michael Torres on four pitches to start the game.
“I expected more,” Mainieri said. “He wasn’t on his game tonight.”
Preston Clark homered for a 2-0 lead in the second and finished with three hits and two RBIs.
Moldenhauer’s surprising show of power continued. He came to Omaha with no home runs this season and became the 10th player to hit four in a CWS when he sent a high fly over the right-center field fence off left-hander Ryan Byrd in the third.
Moldenhauer said he guessed right when Byrd served up an inside fastball on a 3-1 count.
“Luckily he left it up enough for me to elevate it,” he said.
Jungmann had never pitched more than 7 2-3 innings. He gave up a triple to DJ LeMahieu leading off the third in addition to four singles.
LSU scored on shortstop Brandon Loy’s fielding error in the second. The Tigers got the leadoff man on base to start four innings after that, but couldn’t score.
LeMahieu tripled into the right-field corner to start the third, and Jungmann walked Blake Dean with one out. Jungmann struck out Micah Gibbs and got Mikie Mahtook to ground out.
Jungmann got a big defensive play from second baseman Travis Tucker with a runner on first base in the fourth. Tucker went into the hole to backhand Derek Helenihi’s grounder up the middle, underhanded the ball to Loy, who made the throw to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
In the sixth, Dean reached on an infield single and took another base when Tucker let the ball get past him as he backed up first.
But Dean left second base too early on Gibbs’ fly to center and, as he was standing on third, was called out when Jungmann threw back to Tucker at second.
“It was obvious to me he left early,” Mainieri said.
“That was a mental mistake. Listen, Blake is the smartest baseball player I know and those things happen once in a blue moon. He felt worse about it than anybody.”
Garrido said the third, fourth and sixth innings were key to the outcome.
“Those three turned the momentum in a huge way,” he said.
The Longhorns scored all five runs in the first three innings and mustered only four singles the rest of the way.
“Unfortunately, we gave up five runs early,” Mainieri said. “Normally, you can come back and win the game, but their kid was too good.”
If the Tigers lose Wednesday, it would mark only the second time this season they have dropped back-to-back games.
“You can’t have a hangover tomorrow,” LSU’s Jared Mitchell said. “We’ve done a good job bouncing back from losses.”
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