Austin Ross tore through Vanderbilt tonight, shutting the 'Dores down over 8+ innings to drive LSU to a 7-5 victory. Ross allowed just four hits and at one point had retired 14 straight batters as Vandy could generate little offense against him. Offensively, the Tigers peppered the #5 seed with singles in bunches and aggressive baserunning to score seven runs against some soft Vanderbilt pitching.
Vanderbilt made it close in the ninth inning against beleaguered LSU closer Matty Ott, who came in to spell a tiring Ross. Ott proceeded to give up two run scoring hits and an unusual quasi-balk before finally striking out Mike Yastrzemski to end the game. Despite his failure in the clutch, Yaz was the team's hero earlier in the game, belting a two-run home run in the second inning to knot the game at 3-3. It looked like the Commodores would make the game competitive at that point, but Ross's pitching kept their batters listless and gave the Tigers the chance to run out to a four-run lead and, eventually, the game.
With the loss, Vanderbilt drops to the loser's bracket, where they'll face #1 seed Florida in an elimination game Friday at approximately 7:00 PM. LSU will get tomorrow off and then face the winner of that game on Saturday. Florida, a team ranked #5 in the country, will provide a huge test for the Commodores, who will need a win to keep their hopes of hosting a NCAA Regional alive.