OMAHA, Neb.- First baseman Sean Ochinko erased a 4-3 deficit in the fifth inning with a three-run homer and Ryan Schimpf blasted a two-run dinger as the top-ranked Tigers outlasted No.5 Virginia 9-5 in the opening round of the College World Series in front of a crowd of 24, 904 Saturday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The Tigers (52-16) will face Arkansas on Monday at 6 p.m. CT. The Razorbacks defeated Cal St. Fullerton 10-6 earlier on Saturday to advance in the winner's bracket. LSU defeated Arkansas 2-1 in a three-game series during the regular season in Fayetteville.
Monday's game will be televised on ESPN and can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats can also be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net.
Virginia (48-14-1) will play Cal St. Fullerton in an elimination game Monday at 1 p.m. CT. The Cavaliers collected 14 hits in the game, including a 4-for-5 performance by second baseman Keith Werman. Tyler Cannon and Franco Valdes also collected three hits apiece for the Cavaliers.
DJ LeMahieu, Mikie Mahtook and Micah Gibbs led LSU with three hits apiece. Schimpf and Gibbs also had two RBI apiece.
"I thought our defense really kept us in the game, because we didn't pitch very well early," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We made some great plays on defense, and then we started pitching better in the middle of the game. I thought our hitters really battled tonight; they ran the pitch counts up and did a great job at the plate."
The winning pitcher for the Tigers was Austin Ross (6-7) who came on in relief, throwing 2.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking none and striking out two.
LSU got out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame when designated hitter Blake Dean lined a two-out double to right and later scored on a single by catcher Micah Gibbs.
Virginia tied the game at 1-1 in the third when second baseman Keith Werman doubled and later scored on a groundout by Danny Hultzen.
LSU responded in the bottom of the frame when DJ LeMahieu led off the inning with a single and reached third when Ryan Schimpf followed with a double.
The next batter, Dean, hit a deep sacrifice fly to right, scoring LeMahieu and giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead with one out. Schimpf moved up to third on the play.
Gibbs followed with his second RBI of the game when he laced a single to left to score Schimpf and put the LSU ahead 3-1.
The Cavaliers fought back in the fourth and made the score 3-2 when shortstop Tyler Cannon tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a shallow blooper to right by catcher Franco Valdes.
Werman followed Valdes with an infield single and Ranaudo walked centerfielder Jarrett Parker to load the bases with one out.
Right-hander Paul Bertuccini came out of the bullpen to relieve Ranaudo and retired the next two batters to end the Cavalier threat with the bases loaded in the fourth. A sliding catch by Schimpf in left field saved the LSU lead heading into the bottom of the frame.
Ranaudo turned in his shortest outing of the season, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing two runs on five hits while walking four and striking out three.
Virginia tied the score at 3-3 in the top of the fifth when third baseman Steven Proscia belted a solo homer to left off Bertuccini. It was Proscia's 10th homer of the season.
The Cavaliers followed with back-to-back singles by Cannon and first baseman John Hicks with one out in the fifth. Cannon later scored on a single by Werman, his third hit of the game, to give Virginia its first lead of the game 4-3.
Right-hander Austin Ross came on in relief for Bertuccini with two outs in the fifth and struck out Parker to end the inning. It was Ross' first relief appearance of the season.
The Tigers regained the lead in the bottom of the frame when Ochinko blasted a three-run homer to left after Gibbs and Mikie Mahtook hit back-to-back singles, giving LSU a 6-4 advantage. Ochinko's eighth homer of the year was his first since April 3 against Georgia.
Virginia wouldn't go away in the seventh as Valdes blasted a solo homer to left to pull the Cavaliers within one at 6-5. The previous batter, Hicks, reached base on a single, but was thrown out trying to steal by Gibbs.
LSU extended its lead to 7-5 in the eighth when Austin Nola was hit by a pitch and stole second and scored on a single by LeMahieu. The next batter, Schimpf, laced his 20th homer of the season, a two-run dinger that put LSU up 9-5.