Chris Chinea had on his batting helmet and gloves. He had his bat in his hand, too.
“I was going to make a change,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.
Instead, Mainieri kept Chinea in the dugout and allowed Tyler Moore to bat.
Moore hit a blooping RBI single to score the tying run in the seventh inning, and LSU eventually beat Southeastern Louisiana 8-4 Friday afternoon, beginning the Baton Rouge regional with a wild victory.
Moore’s teardrop shot flew over the head of Southeastern shortstop Kennon Menard, scoring speedy Sean McMullen from second base.
It was Moore’s 20th RBI during this scorching nine-game winning streak for the Tigers (45-14-1).
That said, Mainieri nearly yanked Moore, a left-handed bat, for Chinea, who hits right-handed. Southeastern pulled starter Andro Cutura before Moore’s at-bat, inserting a left-handed pitcher Matt Pittari.
Mainieri told Chinea to put on his gear for pinch-hitting duty. The coach walked up to Moore and had a conversation with the Baton Rouge native.
“I challenged Tyler,” Mainieri said. “I asked him if he wanted to stay in and face this guy. He said, ‘I got him. I got him.’ Of course, right away, it’s (an) 0-2 count. But he stayed with a breaking ball and served it over there into left field.”
Moore went 3 for 4, continuing his hot stretch.
Over the last nine games, the junior is 16 of 33, a .484 average.
“I can’t say enough about Tyler,” senior Sean McMullen said. “He has a lot of confidence right now.”
Nate Fury never saw his pitch speed displayed on the Alex Box Stadium scoreboard.
That’s too bad.
Fury (3-1) got the win Friday, closing out the game by pitching a no-hit shutout over the final two innings. He clocked as high as 94 mph on the Box’s pitch speed display.
“I was told,” Fury said of the pitch speed. “Felt good.”
Zac Person and Fury combined to no-hit the Lions over the final three frames. Person pitched a clean seventh, striking out two.
And Fury hit those high numbers. Fury said he started the season pitching in the low 90s, but lately his pitch speed has soared.
On Friday, amid 9,328 roaring LSU fans, it skyrocketed.
“With that atmosphere, it’s not real hard to throw it hard,” Fury said.
Southeastern Louisiana coach Matt Riser wasted little time reflecting on what would have been a program-defining victory Friday.
Instead, he had to quickly try to get his team to put the loss behind and turn its attention to Saturday’s elimination game against Houston or Bryant.
“It starts right there with the meeting right there after the game,” Riser said. “The beauty of the game of baseball is that we get to go back out there again (Saturday) and play some more. It’s not over yet, and that’s what we keep telling our guys. As soon as you get on that bus, you have to flush it.”
Tate Scioneaux (7-6, 3.11 ERA) will get the start today for the Lions. The sophomore right-hander is coming off a stellar outing in the Southland Conference tournament when he was named MVP after throwing 11 shutout innings.
Southeastern Louisiana No. 3 hitter Andrew Godbold homered in the first inning to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
It was the ninth homer of the season for the right fielder, most of any player in the Baton Rouge regional.
“This was the first time a lot of guys have played here and the first inning we put one out of the park,” pitcher Andro Cutura said. “I think that put a statement right there. I think LSU saw right three that we weren’t messing around. From then on we all had confidence. It built our confidence.”
LSU moved to 133-51 in NCAA tournament games. The Tigers lead the nation with a win percentage of .722 in the event. LSU won its 84th regional game Friday and is 26-1 in regional openers. The Tigers are 84-19 overall in NCAA regoinals. ... LSU is now 27-3 in the NCAA tournament against in-state schools. The Tigers are 26-1 against in-state schools in regionals, and they’ve never lost the first game of a Baton Rouge regional.