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LSU Improves NCAA Return Chances With 9-1 Win Over Georgia In SECT

Updated: May 22

By Doug Kyle and Alex Day

By now, everyone who follows college baseball has seen the graphics that list the historical percentages of teams with 13 or fewer conference wins making the NCAA Tournament field. It's been done before, and being the defending National Champions might help a team who's close, real close, but the odds are still below 50 percent, based on data alone.

LSU Head Coach Jay Johnson brought his Tigers to the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover seeking to improve their chances and move to the next line up on the ubiquitous chart. Many observers said they'd know how Johnson assessed his chances of getting in with just the 13 wins by his choice of starting pitcher on Tuesday.

Johnson left no doubt when he announced Gage Jump to get the nod. He was taking no chances, and if throwing his Friday night guy on short rest was what it took, he was there to win and move into the double elimination round on Wednesday, even if it meant facing SEC co-champion Kentucky in another 9:30 breakfast game.

And if his message wasn't clear already, he brought in his closer Griffin Herring to pitch the 8th and 9th innings, even with a 6-1 lead that was 9-1 by the time Georgia batted in the bottom of the 9th. As the saying goes, in a horse race, you ride the horse.

The horses, err, the pitchers were outstanding. Not only did LSU hold Georgia to a single run in the second inning, they hung an 0-4 collar around the neck of the newly-named SEC Player of the Year Charlie Condon. The highlight of Condon's day was reduced to starting an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the fifth inning with a force at third base and throw across to first in time to end the LSU rally at just two runs. Jump threw 105 pitches in 7IP, 75 strikes, 1ER, 1BB, 4H, 7K. Herring gave up two hits and two walks but got a strikeout and allowed no runs in his two innings.

Hitting wise, the Tigers collected 14 hits, led by the top of the order Michael Braswell III and Tommy White, each with three hits; and Josh Pearson, Steven Milam, and Alex Milazzo with two each. Pearson had 3 RBI, Milam and Milazzo 2 each.

Post-game, Georgia Coach Wes Johnson talked about how he felt that this game was more his team giving the game away and not LSU coming in and winning the game. He spoke about how he felt his guys both on the mound and on offense did not execute their plan.

LSU Coach Jay Johnson was effusive in his praise of both starter Gage Jump and the offense as a whole. Jay mentioned the decision to start Jump today was made three weeks ago and that Gage jumped at the opportunity to compete in the most important game of the season. Jay also spoke glowingly about outfielder Josh Pearson. Josh hasn't had the greatest statistical season but over the years he has consistently shown an ability to raise his play late in the season when the games matter more and in the biggest moments of the game. Today was no different as he finished the game 2-4 with 3 RBI 1 R.

The Tigers are peaking at the right time look like a deadly 3 seed that no host wants in their regional. Here is a question we posed to Coach Johnson in the post-game press conference:


(Images and video courtesy of the Southeastern Conference)

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