NCAA: LSU Tops Tennessee 6-3 in CWS Nightcap

LSU starting pitcher Paul Skenes throws against Tennessee in the second inning of a baseball game at the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday, June 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

OMAHA, Neb. – The No. 5 LSU Tigers beat their SEC rival, the Tennessee Volunteers, 6-3 in the second game of Bracket 2 at the 2023 NCAA Division I College World Series.

Projected first round draft pick Paul Skenes was stellar for the Tigers during last night’s win, throwing 7.2 innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs, walking one, and striking out 12, improving to 13-2 for the season.

Skenes recorded his 200th strikeout of the season and became the second LSU pitcher to accomplish that feat since Ben McDonald tossed an SEC record with 202 strikeouts during the 1989 season.

“At different points today I had all four pitches working,” Skenes said. “I mean, you have to look at obviously their lineup but also what’s working for me. And went out there and made pitches, kind of threw what they weren’t expecting at times and it worked pretty well.” 

In the bottom of the second, LSU struck first when second baseman Gavin Douglas launched a solo home run to left field, his 16th of the year.

Volunteers starting pitcher Andrew Lindsey faced 17 batters, throwing 3.2 innings and allowing two earned runs, walking one batter, and striking out four.

During the bottom of the sixth inning, LSU extended the lead when junior right fielder Brayden Jolbert jolted an RBI triple off the bottom of the center field wall aand catcher Hayden Travinski came in to score to make it 3-0.

Tigers first baseman Tre’ Morgan went 1-for-3 with two RBI, including a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh, that scored center fielder Dylan Crews to make it 5-0.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Volunteers cut the lead to two runs when sophomore center fielder Hunter Ensley launched a two-run home run over the center field wall as Maui Ahuna came in to score.

“Obviously we were looking for more success. I mean, the more success, the more opportunities you have to win a ball game. But we knew coming in… [Skenes] has an unreal arm,” said Volunteers center fielder Hunter Ensley.

During the bottom of the eighth inning, LSU added another run to the board when right fielder Brayden Jobert launched a solo home run to right field for his 12th long ball of the season as the Tigers extended the lead to three runs at 6-3.

“Our team was locked in from the first pitch. We talked a lot about just focusing on execution. And they did that really, really well,” said LSU head coach Jay Johnson. “This time of year you win these games against these elite teams when great players play great. And that was certainly the case with Paul from the mound tonight, Brayden and Gavin from the batter’s box.”

LSU will play No. 1 Wake Forest on Monday at 7 p.m. EDT. Tennessee will play No. 8 Stanford University on Monday at 2 p.m. EDT. All NCAA Division I College World Series games are on the ESPN family of networks.

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