BATON ROUGE, La.—As Raph Rhymes posed with a fan for a postgame photo, the fan said, "Did you hear this place? Man, it got juiced."
"Yeah, it did," Rhymes replied with a shake of his head.
For the second straight night, Louisiana State came from behind in the late innings to stun snake-bitten Georgia. This time, LSU erased a 4-2 lead with six runs in the eighth, as Mason Katz smacked a go-ahead grand slam and Rhymes followed with a solo shot over the left-field bleachers, sending the Alex Box Stadium crowd into a deafening frenzy and propelling the Tigers to an 8-4 win.
Rhymes finished 2-for-4 to maintain his .503 batting average, and the Tigers got three hitless innings of relief from Joey Bourgeois and a 1-2-3 ninth from closer Nick Goody, who struck out the side. LSU's collection of dominating power arms stood in contrast to Georgia's softer-throwing bullpen, which failed to nail down the win after starter Michael Palazzone left in the fifth inning with a back spasm.
LSU starter Ryan Eades (5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER) did not have his best command but still showed his typical power stuff—a 92-94 mph fastball that peaked at 95, a sharp downer curve at 76-79, a slider with good depth at 82-83 and a changeup with lively arm-side action at 80-81. Bourgeois worked mostly at 90-91 and bumped 92, while getting swing-and-misses with his 73-74 curveball. Goody worked in the 90-93 range for the second straight day, getting two strikeouts on 92 mph heaters and another on a sharp slider at 78.
LSU's bullpen was a bit of a question mark coming into the season, but it has emerged as a true strength for the Tigers, rivaling its vaunted weekend rotation. And the lineup has continued to show a knack for getting big hits in pressure situations—the mark of a confident team capable of making a deep postseason run.
Here's a look at some other highlights from Saturday's action:
Top 25 Showdowns
• (25) New Mexico State at (3) Baylor: The Bears completed the two-game series sweep with a 15-5 win, shortened to eight innings by the 10-run rule. Logan Vick's three-run homer highlighted Baylor's seven-run fifth, and Dan Evatt (3-for-4, 2 RBI) followed with a solo shot one batter later.
• (21) Arkansas at (5) Florida: The Hogs chased Brian Johnson (4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) with four runs in the fifth, and Brandon Moore (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R) sparkled in relief, leading Arkansas to a series-evening 5-1 win.
• (9) Texas A&M vs./@/@ (20) Texas: The Aggies dominated the Longhorns for the second straight day, winning 12-4 to clinch the series. Scott Arthur (3-for-6, 2 R, 2 RBI) spearheaded A&M's 14-hit attack in support of Ross Stripling (8 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). Erich Weiss committed three of UT's five errors; starter Parker French (3.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 1 ER) had the other two.
• (13) Stanford at (12) UCLA: The Bruins evened the series with a 7-4 win behind Nick Vander Tuig (5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). The Bruins jumped on Brett Mooneyham (4 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 7 K) for four runs in the first and never looked back. Cody Keefer had three hits to lead the UCLA offense.
Top 25 Upsets
• (2) Kentucky at Vanderbilt: After opening the game with 11 straight balls, Tyler Beede (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K) settled down to turn in a strong start, and the Commodores answered Kentucky's three-run eighth with a run in the bottom of the frame on Spencer Navin's RBI triple to win 4-3, leveling the series. Jerad Grundy (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) was decent in a no-decision for the Wildcats.
• Memphis at (14) Central Florida: The Tigers scored five runs over the final three innings to upset UCF 6-5. Chris Matulis (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) earned a no-decision for the Knights, who committed two errors leading to two costly unearned runs in the final frames. Derrick Thomas (2-for-3, 2 RBI) delivered a game-winning RBI single in the ninth against Joe Rogers.
• Virginia at (22) Miami: The Cavaliers scored five in the sixth behind Branden Kline (5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 8 K) to win the series opener 7-3. Miami made three errors behind Eric Erickson (5.1 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 2 ER) in the sixth, leading to five unearned runs.
• Gonzaga's Marco Gonzales struck out 15 without issuing a walk over 11 scoreless innings, but he earned a no-decision, as the Zags broke a scoreless tie on Payden Cawley Lamb's walk-off single in the 12th. Gonzales allowed just five hits and threw 139 pitches.
• Rhode Island at (1) Florida State: Mike Compton (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K) iomproved to 8-0 in FSU's series-clinching 2-0 win.
• Alabama at (7) South Carolina: The Gamecocks completed a three-game sweep with a 9-1 win. Joey Pankake (2-for-4, 2 RBI) led South Carolina's balanced attack, and Nolan Belcher (3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K) earned the win in relief of Patrick Sullivan (4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 0 K), who made his first start of the season.
• California at (10) Oregon: The Ducks broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the seventh to beat Cal 3-2 in front of a capacity crowd of 3,892, buoyed by the spillover from the Oregon football spring game. Jake Reed (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) improved to 5-2 for the Ducks, who clinched the series.
• East Tennessee State at (11) Arizona: Alex Mejia (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 3B) led a 13-hit attack behind Konner Wade (7.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) in Arizona's series-clinching 6-4 win.
• Michigan State at (15) Purdue: The Boilermakers got strong pitching from Lance Breedlove (7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K), Nick Wittgren (3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) and Blake Mascarello (3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R), and Cameron Perkins delievered a walk-off single in the 14th to give Purdue a series-clinching 4-3 win. Eric Charles (3-for-5, 3 RBI) led the offense for Purdue, which improved to 34-6 with a series win over the second-most talented team in the Big Ten.
• (17) San Diego at Portland: Paul Sewald (6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) improved to 7-1, as the Toreros evened the series with a 3-1 win.
• Duke at (18) North Carolina State: Chris Diaz went 5-for-5 to lead a 15-hit barrage in support of a dominant Carlos Rodon (9 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 K), as N.C. State clinched the series with an 8-3 win. The economical Rodon needed just 110 pitches in his complete game, despite his dozen strikeouts.
• (19) Mississippi at Mississippi State: The Rebels scored two in the seventh and two more in the ninth to win 6-2, leveling the series. R.J. Hively (4 IP, 1 H, 0 R) earned the win in relief of Mike Mayers (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). I'll be in Starkville with updates from Sunday's rubber game.
• (23) Arizona State at Washington State: Trevor Williams (9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) improved to 8-0 with his second complete game of the season, leading ASU to a series-clinching 2-0 win.
• Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at (24) Sam Houston State: Luke Plucheck and Kevin MIller combined to go 7-for-7 with four runs and three RBIs, and Plucheck scored the winning run on a ninth-inning balk to give SHSU a series-evening 8-7 win. Plucheck had reached on a hit-by-pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch, before being sacrificed to third.
• Spencer Kieboom (3-for-5, 2 R, 5 RBI) led Clemson's 17-hit barrage in a series-leveling 13-7 win at Georgia Tech.
• Brett Harman (8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K) cruised in Maryland's series-leveling 8-1 win at fellow bubble-dweller Virginia Tech.
• Oklahoma clinched its fifth series win in the last six weekends with an 8-2 win at Kansas. Max White (2-for-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, HR) led a 12-hit attack behind Jonathan Gray (6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K).
• Ty Young (3-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 3B, HR) led the Louisville offense in a 14-6 win against Connecticut, clinching the series and keeping the Cardinals a game behind first-place St. John's in the Big East.
• Utah Valley extended the nation's longest active winning streak to 23 games with an 11-7 win against New Jersey Tech.
• Southern California evened its series against Oregon State with a 3-2 win behind Andrew Triggs (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).
• Army split a doubleheader at Holy Cross, winning the first game 4-2 but losing the nightcap 6-3 to snap its Patriot League winning streak at 17 games. Army ace Chris Rowley's scoreless streak was halted at 29 innings in the first inning of the opener.
• Auburn clinched a huge series between desperate SEC bubble teams with a 12-3 shellacking of Tennessee. Daniel Koger (4-for-4, 4 R) led Auburn's 14-hit attack behind Daniel Koger (5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER).
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