LSU shows toughness to overcome Southern Miss again

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It was quite a scenario Sunday night at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.

Let’s start with this. Southern Miss is a good team with a ton of heart.

The Golden Eagles staged a dramatic rally to overcome Arizona State 13-12 earlier in the day in a marathon affair.

Then came the rematch with LSU.

Early on, it appeared that the Tigers had a real shot at blowing out USM.

Josh Smith took care of business at the plate, leading off the bottom of the first with a home run and driving in a pair of runs with a triple in his next at-bat to give LSU an early 3-0 lead.

Eric Walker retired the first nine batters he faced. The Tigers were on cruise control.

Then, USM decided to pump the brakes on the LSU coronation.

Gabe Montenegro, who was the best hitter in the regional, opened the top of the fourth with a home run to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Danny Lynch tied the game 3-3 in the top of the fifth with a two-run single with a great at-bat. He went down and got a pretty good change-up and golfed it into right field. The Eagles then took a 4-3 lead and had a ton of momentum.

Josh Lewis went way beyond where anyone imagined he would, pitching into the seventh inning. Once the Golden Eagles went to the bullpen for Jarod Wright, it was curtains for USM.

Zach Watson drilled a two-run single before Saul Garza ripped an RBI double to make it 6-4. The bullpen made it hold up, particularly Trent Vietmeier and Devin Fontenot, who held USM scoreless over the final four innings to seal the win and the regional.

For the second straight game, LSU responded when hit with a huge punch by Southern Miss. That is stuff of which champions are made.

While LSU may not be the best team in the nation, the Tigers are a team worthy of being in the final 16 with a real shot at getting back to the College World Series.

Thanks for Florida State, LSU now gets to host a Super regional next weekend against the Seminoles.

Seeded third and one of the very last teams to get into the 64-team field, FSU swept through the Athens regional, whipping national seed Georgia twice on the way to victory.

The Seminoles hit six home runs in a 13-7 win over Florida Atlantic. Then, FSU pummeled Georgia 12-3. Then, the Seminoles drilled Georgia 10-1 to wrap up the regional, finishing with 35 runs in three games.

In his 40th and final season, Mike Martin is the winningest coach in NCAA history. His team is a Cinderella story. They were scalding hot at the plate in Athens against very good pitching. They have nothing to lose. They will be highly motivated to get Martin back to Omaha in his final season.

It will not be easy for LSU. Then again, it is not supposed to be at this stage. The Tigers appear ready for the challenge.

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

Owner/CEO

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…

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