Play of the game
LSU starting pitcher Jared Poché was sailing along through three hitless innings when he got TCU’s best hitter, Cody Jones, to chop back to the mound to start the fourth. But Poché’s throw to first base was a moon shot high over Chris Chinea’s head, allowing Jones to speed to third and eventually score the game’s first run, unraveling Poché’s command of the strike zone.
Star of the game
TCU’s Preston Morrison. The Horned Frogs’ all-time winningest pitcher had never won an NCAA tournament game, but he never appeared to be in serious trouble Sunday. He threw 89 pitches over seven efficient innings, scattering five hits while striking out five and allowing no walks.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri stayed with Poché until the fifth inning despite the Tigers’ major meltdowns, perhaps illustrating a basic lack of confidence in his mercurial bullpen. Mainieri said Poché, who threw 79 pitches, could return later this week if LSU remains alive.
The Tigers held the upper hand through the first three innings. But the game actually began to turn in the bottom of the third, when Jared Foster was thrown out at home thanks to a pinpoint throw from Jones in center field and a blockade at the plate by TCU catcher Evan Skoug. The game was a downward spiral for LSU after that.
Jones, the Big 12 player of the year, was 0-for-3, but he reached base twice on errors and was twice hit by pitches, scoring three times.
The last word
“Today was just really kind of a totally bad game for us. I don’t know how else to describe it. Outside of the way Jared pitched the first three innings, we really didn’t do anything very well today. It was just a total collapse for us on a big stage. We picked kind of a rough time to just not play our best baseball.”