BATON ROUGE -- Following more than six hours of delays for heavy rain and lightning at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field, the LSU baseball team built an early lead and advanced in the NCAA Regional, 7-1, late Friday.
LSU (43-18), which won its 27th-consecutive regional opening game, capitalized on six solid innings of work by starter Jared Poche' (8-4) and will face the winner of second-seeded Rice and third-seeded Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Friday's game 2 between the Owls and Lions was postponed until 9 a.m. CT Saturday due to the late start (8:34 p.m.) of game 1. Utah Valley (37-22), making its NCAA Tournament debut, will face the loser at 2 p.m.
Live video of all games in the Baton Rouge Regional are available via www.ESPN3.com.
Poche' allowed only one run on five hits with a career-best eight strikeouts and no walks. Three Tigers - Jake Latz, Russell Reynolds and John Valek III - were nearly perfect in relief, allowing only one hit with four strikeouts in the final three innings.
Ten Tigers including all starters had hits, which scored in the first three frames to open a 4-1 lead. Home runs by Jake Fraley - a 428-foot blast to right field in the first inning - and Greg Deichmann in the seventh were too much for the Wolverines to overcome.
Deichmann was 2-for-4 with three RBI, while shortstop Kramer Robertson was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles.
Utah Valley starter Danny Beddes (9-4) took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri
"Obviously, we are thrilled to get off to a good start in the tournament, but before we talk about the game, I would like to send out our heartfelt thoughts and prayers. It's been a tough week for college baseball, first Todd Oakes, the pitching coach at the University of Minnesota passed away after a long battle with leukemia. Of course, everyone knows about the young man Donny Everett, a freshman at Vanderbilt who passed away yesterday. I don't know if you noticed, but a lot of players put Donny's initials on their hats to let the Vanderbilt family and the Minnesota family know that we were thinking about both of their losses. It's a tough day. It puts things into perspective for all of us.
"As far as our game goes, I just thought it was a really solid performance again by our team in every way, very reminiscent of our game against Mississippi State at the SEC Tournament. I thought Jared (Poche') set the tone. He pitched great all night in typical fashion, wiggled out of a couple of jams with some clutch pitches. Jake Fraley gave us a big boost there in the first inning after (Antoine) Duplantis' walk. I didn't know he could hit a ball that far quite frankly. I told him he started to remind me of (Greg) Deichmann after he hit that home run. We had a lot of great at-bats. We knocked out their starting pitcher. We knew he was good. We knew he had a good arm, a big strong guy. We were kind of hoping to play the game at 2:00 p.m. in about 100-degree heat with humidity. We were planning on making him throw a lot of pitches. As it turns out, we were able to get him out after three innings anyway. We had some really good at-bats, clutch hitting. We just kind of strung a lot of singles together to get some runs. Our bullpen did a terrific job. It was really a good workman-like performance in our first game. I didn't think our young players who have not played in a postseason showed any nerves at all. I thought they played just like they have been playing all year, especially at the tail end of the year. It was a good start for us. We have a lot of work to do, but it was a good way to start the tournament."