The Tigers (5-0) notched their largest comeback victory since April 10, 1988 when they trailed Ole Miss, 13-3, through six innings and came back to win, 15-13. The loss was William and Mary’s first of the season, dropping the Tribe to 3-1.
The series will conclude Sunday with a double-header beginning at 1 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium. The second game will follow one hour after the conclusion of Game 1.
“I thought maybe we had dug ourselves too big of a hole,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, “but we had some great at-bats in the sixth inning and managed to keep chipping away at their lead. I’m proud of the way our team stay focused and worked hard to earn a victory. William and Mary has an outstanding club, and we’re going to have our hands full for 18 innings on Sunday.”
Six Tigers had multi-hit games to lead the LSU offense. Shortstop Austin Nola and catcher Micah Gibbs both registered two hits and two RBI apiece. Gibbs’ second RBI proved to be the eventual game-winner when he singled home Blake Dean in the seventh inning.
Mitch Mormann (1-0), a transfer from Des Moines Area Junior College, earned his first win as a Tiger, going three innings and allowing only one run on three hits while walking none and striking out three. Mormann entered the game in the sixth inning when William and Mary had two runners on with no outs. The right-hander closed out the inning, allowing no runs and no hits.
“I challenged Mitch earlier this week to give us this kind of performance,” Mainieri said, “and he responded in a big way. I thought his outing was the real key to the game.”
LSU starter Austin Ross was perfect through the first 4.1 innings before allowing a solo homer to Tribe left fielder Stephen Arcure in the fifth inning. Arcure’s first homer of the season put William and Mary ahead 1-0.
The next batter, second baseman Jonathan Slattery, ripped a double to left-center field and scored on an RBI single by designated hitter Jackson Shaver to give the Tribe a 2-0 lead. The Tribe took a 4-0 lead in the fifth when centerfielder Ryan Brown doubled over Mikie Mahtook’s head in right, scoring Shaver and Ryan Williams.
Ross pitched five innings, allowing four runs on four hits while walking one and striking out eight.
Junior right-hander Ben Alsup came on in relief for Ross to start the sixth. William and Mary first baseman Tadd Bower led off the sixth with a solo homer to put the Tribe up 5-0.
William and Mary went ahead 7-0 in the sixth when Shaver singled home Chris Forsten and Arcure. The next batter, Williams, singled and advanced to second on a throw. Slattery scored on the play, giving the Tribe an 8-0 lead. Mormann came on in the sixth with two runners on base and shut down the Tribe with the score 8-0.
The eight-run sixth inning for LSU began when Wet Delatte singled to right with the bases loaded to score Leon Landry and make the score 8-1. The next batter, left fielder Trey Watkins, singled up the middle to score Mahtook, making the score 8-2.
Tribe right-hander Matt Davenport came on in relief for starter Logan Billbrough after Watkins’ single. The next batter, Nola, ripped a two-run single, cutting the LSU deficit to 8-4. Dean followed Nola with a groundout that scored Watkins making the score 8-5.
Gibbs followed Dean’s RBI two batters later with one of his own, as he singled home Nola from third to make the score 8-6. Landry followed Gibbs with a walk to load the bases for Mahtook. The Tigers cut the lead to 8-7 when Davenport threw a wild pitch, allowing Tyler Hanover to take home.
The game was tied 8-8 when Davenport walked Matt Gaudet with the bases loaded, plating Gibbs.
LSU broke the tie and went ahead 9-8 in the seventh when Watkins was hit by a pitch, stole second and third and then reached home when the throw to third was high. The stolen bases were Watkins’ third and fourth stolen bases of the season.
Two batters later, Dean doubled down the right-field line and scored on an RBI single up the middle by Gibbs, giving the Tigers a 10-8 advantage.
Matty Ott earned his third save of the season, coming on in the ninth and retiring the Tribe in order with one strikeout.