Saturday, June 10, 2000 • Box score
It was difficult to tell where Louisiana State's batting practice ended and its regular at-bats began Saturday at the College World Series.
The Tigers showed no respect for a Texas pitching staff ranked first nationally in earned-run average, scoring early and often in a 13-5 first-round rout of the Longhorns in Bracket Two.
A Rosenblatt Stadium crowd of 23,975 - the fifth-largest in CWS history - watched LSU hammer Texas starter Beau Hale for four runs on five hits in the bottom of the first inning.
The Tigers added single runs in the second and fifth before chasing Hale - the 14th overall pick in last week's draft by Baltimore - during a six-run outburst in the sixth.
LSU senior third baseman Blair Barbier's two home runs helped add Hale's name to a list of first-round draft picks who have been thumped at the CWS.
Other memorable clubbings were administered to Louisiana State's Ben McDonald, Clemson's Kris Benson, and Stanford's Mike Mussina and Kyle Peterson.
LSU Hitting Coach Turtle Thomas pounded home the theme early in the year, Barbier said, that to win in Omaha "you have to beat the guys who are going to get drafted in the first round."
But Tigers Coach Skip Bertman said those pitchers often face an extra challenge pitching in the CWS just a few days after being drafted.
"A lot of top-round draft picks here have struggled," Bertman said. "It's a tough gig for those kids.
"One thing you have to understand after those kids are drafted in the first or second round, they are commodities. People are watching them. They might subconsciously feel if they don't show well that they'll lose their edge in negotiating. It's not fair."
Hale, whose 2.77 ERA helped lower the overall staff mark to 3.13 coming to Omaha, spoke matter-of-factly after allowing 10 hits and eight runs. Both matched his season worsts.
"It was heck of a time to have a bad game like I did," he said after repeatedly reaching 90-to 95-mph on the radar guns but falling to 12-6. "I was getting behind in the count, and then I had to throw the ball over the plate.
"They hit a lot of mistakes I made, and they hit them hard."
Louisiana State (49-17), a four-time CWS champion in the 1990s, advances to a Bracket Two winners' game at 2 p.m. Monday against 1998 titlist Southern California (44-18).
Texas (46-20) drops into an elimination game at 6 p.m. Monday against Florida State (51-18).
LSU got to Hale immediately in the bottom of the first inning.
Shortstop Ryan Theriot led off with a sharp double to right, second baseman Mike Fontenot followed with an infield single and catcher Brad Cresse drove in Theriot with a sacrifice fly.
First baseman Brad Hawpe then cracked a run-scoring double to right. Barbier followed with a two-run homer to left-center field for a 4-0 lead. After five batters, LSU had matched the most runs Hale had allowed in any of his past seven starts.
"LSU's game plan worked to perfection," Texas Coach Augie Garrido said. "They came out aggressively with the bats. And they capitalized on their strength and power.
"They have been the first offensive team that's been able to handle our pitching the way they did. So my hat is off to them for playing a great game."
Texas catcher and cleanup hitter Sam Anderson, with no home runs this season in 162 at-bats, slugged his first to lead off the top of the second, cutting LSU's lead to 4-1.
But the Tigers countered in the bottom of the second with a run on an error and Fontenot's double. Fontenot, a freshman, went 3 for 4 in his first CWS appearance.
"I'm just glad to be here," Fontenot said. "And I'm glad I did pretty well."
The teams exchanged single runs again in the fifth inning as Texas first baseman Jeff Ontiveros doubled and scored, then LSU's Barbier lined his second homer to make the score 6-2.
Garrido said the immediate offensive responses from Louisiana State kept Texas on its heels.
"They wouldn't let us get the momentum back," he said. "They stayed aggressive, and they kept finding ways to counterpunch and keep the four-run lead until they got the big inning."
The big inning came in the sixth.
The Longhorns closed to 6-3 in the top of the sixth on second baseman Tommy Nicholson's single, a wild pitch and Anderson's sacrifice fly.
But LSU wiped away any Texas hopes of a rally with its six-run sixth.
Hale was replaced after a one-out single and a two-out walk, and got no help from reliever Eric Tomlinson. He walked the next three batters, forcing in two runs. UT reliever Ray Clark then gave up a two-run single to center fielder Cedrick Harris and a two-run double to left fielder Jeremy Witten.
The offensive explosion made a winner of LSU starter Brian Tallet (15-3). About the only thing that threatened the 6-foot-7 left-hander was a nosebleed with two outs in the fifth inning.
Tallet said he wasn't used to the relatively dry air in Nebraska in comparison to the humidity in Louisiana. After five minutes of medical attention on the field to pack his nostrils, Tallet continued and pitched into the eighth inning.