BATON ROUGE -- LSU shortstop Austin Nola delivered a game-winning RBI single in the top of the 10th inning to break a 2-2 tie and lead the second-ranked Tigers past Baylor, 3-2, in Game 4 of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (48-16) will look to clinch the regional Sunday night at 6 p.m. (CDT) when they face the winner of the game between Baylor (30-25) and Minnesota (39-18), who eliminated Southern earlier in the day. The Bears and Golden Gophers will play at 1 p.m. Sunday.
LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo (9-3) recorded the victory with a magnificent performance as the right-hander limited Baylor to only three hits and one earned run in a career-high nine innings and struck out 14. Right-hander Matty Ott finished off the Bears with a perfect 10th inning to register his 15th save of the season.
Nola, who finished 2-for-4, was one of three Tigers to collect a pair of hits on the evening. Outfielders Jared Mitchell and Mikie Mahtook also notched two hits apiece, and Mitchell launched his ninth home run of the season.
"Anthony Ranaudo -- that was the story of the game," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "That was one of the greatest performances I've ever witnessed. The stakes were up in this game and he had not just unbelievable talent but he was courageous and made the big pitches at the critical times and basically put the team on his shoulders. It would have been one of the biggest shames of all time if we hadn't pulled that one out after that kind of pitching performance.
"We finally got a couple of hits with runners in scoring position (in the 10th inning). (Sean) Ochinko came in after sitting on the bench for nine innings and gave us a big base hit and then, of course, Austin (Nola) with the big hit was fantastic. I thought Jared (Mitchell) was really the story for us offensively with his home run and then his clutch steals. He played a terrific game for us offensively. We feel very grateful to win this game, Baylor pitched awesome, especially their last two. I give so much credit to their pitchers."
Mitchell gave the Tigers an early 1-0 advantage with a solo homer over the right field wall in the top of the second inning.
The Tigers added another run in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 2-0. Catcher Micah Gibbs and Mahtook each singled, and Mitchell drew a walk to load the bases before second baseman DJ LeMahieu drove in Gibbs on a grounder to short.
Meanwhile, Ranaudo kept Baylor at bay, allowing only one hit and striking out seven through the first four innings.
The Bears struck back in the bottom of sixth with a solo shot off the bat of catcher Gregg Glime to cut the deficit to 2-1, but Ranaudo regained his composure, retiring six of the next seven batters and fanning the side in the seventh.
Baylor tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and runners on second and third, second baseman Joey Hainsfurther reached on an error to plate a run.
However, Ranaudo continued to impress in the ninth, striking out the side for the second time in three innings before the Tiger bats came through in the top of the 10th.
Following walks to Mitchell and LeMahieu and a base hit from pinch-hitter Sean Ochinko to load the bases with one out, Nola lined a single into center field to bring home the go-ahead run and put the Tigers up, 3-2.
Ott entered in the bottom of the frame and struck out the first batter he faced before inducing a pair of line outs to close out the game.
Baylor right-hander Kendal Volz (3-7), who surrendered the game-winning run in the 10th, was charged with the loss.