LSU right-hander Paul Skenes fired 7.2 innings with 12 strikeouts Saturday night and rightfielder Brayden Jobert collected three hits and two RBI to lift the Tigers to a 6-3 victory over Tennessee at the Men’s College World Series Saturday night at Charles Schwab Field.
With the win, LSU improved to 49-15 on the season, and the Volunteers dropped to 43-21.
The Tigers move into the winner’s bracket at the CWS and will face Wake Forest on Monday night at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on ESPN, and it can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network and at LSUsports.net/live.
“Great night tonight, unbelievable crowd,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “I think two things really stand out. 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.
“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 (Dugas) from the batter’s box. I thought it was a solid game; we played solid baseball and our guys were guys. That’s what it takes to win games here.”
Skenes (13-2) earned the victory after working 7.2 innings and recording 12 strikeouts. He finished the outing allowing two runs on five hits with only one walk issued. LSU left-hander Riley Cooper entered the game in the eighth, taking over for Skenes and earned his first save of the season after firing 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Skenes has 200 strikeouts on the season, and he became the second LSU pitcher to reach that mark, right behind program legend Ben McDonald who tossed an SEC record 202 strikeouts in 1989. Tennessee starter Andrew Lindsey (3-4) was charged with the loss after working 3.2 innings and allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
LSU got the scoring started on the strength of second baseman Gavin Dugas’ 16th homer of the season, a solo shot in the second inning. The Tigers added to their total in the bottom of the third on an RBI groundout from first baseman Tre’ Morgan and led 2-0 after three innings.
The Tigers struck for two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend the lead to 4-0. Catcher Hayden Travinski began the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jobert delivered an RBI triple on a ball he smashed to the right-centerfield wall. With Jobert on third, shortstop Jordan Thompson singled through the left side to bring in Jobert.
In the bottom of the seventh, centerfielder Dylan Crews led off with a double, and third baseman Tommy White followed with a single to left field. Morgan produced a quality at-bat with less than two outs and lifted a sac fly to center, giving LSU a 5-0 advantage.
With his leadoff double, Crews collected his 100th hit of the season, becoming the first LSU player since Alex Bregman in 2013 to reach that mark in a single season. Tennessee plated three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by shortstop Maui Ahuna and centerfielder Hunter Ensley’s two-run home, narrowing the gap to 5-3. Jobert padded the LSU lead in the bottom of the eighth with a solo shot to right field, his 12 homer of the season.
LSU head coach Jay Johnson along with players Gavin Dugas, Brayden Jobert, and Paul Skenes all talked about the win postgame. Video is courtesy of the NCAA.