LSU’s record-setting baseball team is headed where it has seemed destined all season — the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
The Tigers followed a record-setting regular season with an undefeated run through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, finishing off Oklahoma 11-1 in Game 2 of the Baton Rouge Super Regional on Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU, which swept three games in the Baton Rouge Regional a week earlier before winning Game 1 of the best-of-three series 2-0 on Friday night, is returning to the CWS for the first time since its 2009 national championship season.
The Tigers (57-9) tied the 1997 team’s record for victories in a season, adding to its records for most regular-season wins (48), most Southeastern Conference wins (23) and most wins prior to the NCAA Tournament (52).
JaCoby Jones, whose eighth-inning triple started the winning rally Friday, had a home run, three other hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Ty Ross drove in three runs and Jared Foster, Raph Rhymes, Andrew Stevenson and Alex Edward each had one RBI and the Tigers scored an unearned run with the help of two of OU’s four errors and another came home on a wild pitch.
Starter Ryan Eades, who left after four innings and a 52-minute weather delay, and three relievers held the Sooners (43-21) to five hits one night after Aaron Nola threw a two-hit shutout against them.
OU took a 1-0 lead against Eades in the bottom of the first. Craig Aikin led off with a single, Jack Mayfield sacrificed him to second and Max White singled him home.
LSU used the same script to tie the score against Dillon Overton (9-3) in the second. Raph Rhymes led off with a single, Christian Ibarra sacrificed him to second and Jones singled him home.
The Tigers broke the tie in the third as the Sooners committed three errors, two of which contributed to an unearned run. Mark Laird reached on a one-out single and continued to third as right fielder Hunter Haley misplayed the ball. First baseman Matt Oberste mishandled Alex Bregman’s liner, sending home Laird.
LSU extended the lead to 3-1 in the fourth. Jones led off with a hit to center field that he turned into a double as White was slow to reach the ball and Foster singled him home. Ross squeezed home Rhymes in the sixth to make it 5-1.
Eades allowed four base-runners in the first two innings then seemed to settle down. In the third he allowed a two-out walk to White, but White was thrown out trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.
After Eades had his first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, the game was stopped as severe weather was detected in the area, though no rain fell during the delay.
When play resumed, Overton returned to the mound and Will LaMarche (3-0) relieved Eades.
After a scoreless fifth, LaMarche got into trouble in the sixth. With one out he hit Mayfield and one out later Mayfield stole second and went to third on Ross’ throwing error.
After LaMarche walked Oberste, Nick Rumbelow relieved and Oberste stole second. Rumbelow struck out Hector Lorenzana to end the threat.
Rumbelow got the first two outs in the seventh before Taylor Alspaugh singled. Garrett Carey then hit a drive to deep left and Rhymes leaped at the wall to catch it.
Jones’ sixth homer of the season increased the lead to 5-1 in the eighth and Rhymes had an RBI double, Ross had a two-run single and Stevenson and Edward had RBI singles in the ninth.
Chris Cotton finished it with two innings of scoreless relief as the team and an LSU record crowd of 11,401 celebrated the program’s 16th trip to the CWS.