The way LSU clinched a berth in the College World Series on Sunday night was almost as important as the deed itself.
The Tigers slumbering bats came alive to produce all their runs in the final three innings of a 6-3 super regional-clinching victory against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Alex Box Stadium.
Kade Scivicque broke the ice with a solo homer in the seventh, then LSU scored four runs in the eighth — the first inning in the past 35 in which the Tigers scored more than two runs — and added one in the ninth.
“We haven’t swung the bats like we’re capable of during the postseason as a whole,” shortstop Alex Bregman said. “And I take a lot of responsibility for that.”
It’s no coincidence that a drop-off in production by Bregman coincided with one by the team as a whole, or that he was in the middle of the breakout Sunday with a two-run single in the eighth — his only hit in five NCAA tournament games.
Bregman said Ragin’ Cajuns starter Gunner Leger kept the Tigers scoreless for six innings by keeping them off-balance, partly by throwing change-ups in fastball counts, something opponents have done throughout the tournament.
“We need to make an adjustment when that happens, and we will,” Bregman said.
LSU’s inconsistent run production began against Florida in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament May 23. The Tigers didn’t score in the final seven innings of a 2-1 loss.
The scoreless string reached 10 innings when LSU failed to score in the first three innings of its NCAA tournament opener against Lehigh, but the Tigers scored in each of the next five innings and coasted to a 10-3 victory.
LSU finished off the Baton Rouge regional behind its pitching and defense in consecutive 2-0 wins against North Carolina-Wilmington.
In the super regional opener Saturday, the Tigers jumped to a 3-0 lead after three innings, then needed a one-out, walk-off homer from Chris Sciambra to beat UL-Lafayette 4-3.
The Tigers, who have hit .316 and averaged 7.0 runs for the season, have batted .259 and averaged 4.2 runs in their past six games.
“Maybe we pressed a little bit at times,” Bregman said, “either when we had a line-out or had a quick inning, but this offense is very confident. We’re going to go back out to practice and get after it again.”
Coach Paul Mainieri noted that the Tigers haven’t lost consecutive games this season, in part because when one aspect of their game has struggled, another has compensated.
“They’ve played at a high level all year,” Mainieri said. “Ultimately you knew your hitting was going to come around. We know we’re capable of scoring runs.”
In addition to Scivicque and Sciambra, Jake Fraley homered Saturday, giving LSU three homers in the super regional after not hitting any in the previous five games.
“It always feels good whenever you square up a ball and hit a home run,” Scivicque said. “But just hitting that base hit through the middle or hitting a line-drive double or something like that means just as much.”
The home runs might be harder to come by in spacious TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, so it should be encouraging to the Tigers that their last five runs Sunday came home on Bregman’s two-run single, Conner Hale’s two-run double and Mark Laird’s RBI-single — all of which came with two outs.
“We’ve been playing well offensively all year,” Bregman said. “We’re going to be ready to play in Omaha, and we’re going to be ready to swing the bats in Omaha.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.
COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
LSU vs. TCU
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, Neb.
RADIO: WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3; WDGL-FM, 98.1; KLWB-FM, 103.7