Seconds after it happened, Twitter dubbed it the rally beach ball. It’s just the latest prop to interrupt a game and spark an LSU comeback. This one in particular, that led to a 5-4 victory over Florida State, might be the weirdest. Officially ruled an Antoine Duplantis single and three errors, the play allowed Cole Freeman to score all the way from first base and tie the game.
“Right off the bat, when I hit it to right field, I thought Cole (Freeman) could have gone first to third right off the get go,” says Duplantis. “I guess he decided he couldn’t have made it. Luckily, he bobbled that ball and made it to third. It was kind of a weird play. I just kept looking up. Things kept happening. I just kept running.”
Duplantis made it all the way to third on the play, which made for an easy trot home after Greg Deichmann singled into right field.
“It’s a great feeling anytime that you can get the go-ahead run,” says Deichmann. “Coach has always talked to me ever since I stepped on campus, and the team, about how you're going to come up in unique situations. One-run games is how you’re going to define your season.”
And it certainly never hurts when everything seems to be going your way, which it certainly has for the Tigers who picked up win number 17 in a row.
“You’ve got to have a little luck in this game, for sure,” says Freeman. “We had a little of it early, and then when you get a little of it, you’ve got to step up. Greg and Antoine did that.”
Overlooked in all of the madness might be Jared Poche. His relief effort of 2.2 innings pitched allowing just two hits with two strikeouts was enough to earn the win. That puts him in a tie atop the LSU leaderboard all-time with 38 victories.
“I’ve been hoping that it would happen, obviously, the last two weeks,” says Poche. “God had a better plan and wanted it to happen in Omaha. I’m excited. It definitely didn’t think it was going to happen with me coming out of the bullpen. But I think it made it a little more exciting.”
Not only does the win put LSU in the winner’s bracket for only the second time in Mainieri’s tenure, but their head coach also says they’ll play a lot looser and better in game two on Monday night. They’ll certainly have to against the nation’s number one team, Oregon State.
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