Jordy Snikeris said he felt a big inning coming on.
LSU was down by two against Stony Brook ace Tyler Johnson in Game 2 of the Baton Rouge Super Regional, but Snikeris had led off the fifth inning with the Tigers’ first hit of the day.
“Most of the time the leadoff guy gets on, he scores,” Snikeris said. “When it happened, I really felt like we were about to break it open.”
Then, with Tyler Moore facing a 3-2 count, LSU coach Paul Mainieri called for a hit-and-run.
If the pitch by Johnson was a strike, Moore was to put it in play. If not, Moore would take ball four and LSU would have runners at first and second with nobody out.
Johnson’s pitch was a ball. But that’s where the play got interesting.
Unsure whether home-plate umpire Heath Jones had called a ball or strike, Snikeris slid head-first into second base as Stony Brook catcher Pat Cantwell’s throw reached the bag. A heavy rain that began in the third inning had left the infield dirt slick and muddy and resulted in Snikeris sliding past the base.
At that point, the LSU senior went from being a player who had advanced to second on Moore’s walk to one who had left the base.
Stony Brook shortstop Cole Peragine applied the tag. Second-base umpire Tony Norris pumped his fist.
“I wish we had been a little more controlled sliding into the bag, but you can’t fault the kid,” Mainieri said. “He was trying to hustle and do something good for his team.”
Mainieri came out of the dugout to argue the call, because he thought Norris was unaware that Moore had drawn a walk.
“I didn’t see the replay, so I don’t know if (Snikeris) came off the base or not,” Mainieri said. “If that’s what happened, it was the proper call.”
As Peragine applied the tag, Snikeris pointed to the left foot he thought he’d kept on the bag.
“I thought I was on the bag the whole time. My toe caught the bag to stop me from oversliding it,” Snikeris said. “That’s what I thought happened. I guess the umpire saw something different.”
The missed opportunity in the fifth proved costly, erasing what would have been LSU’s best shot at a breakthrough inning.
But the Tigers can still win a trip to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series by winning Sunday’s rubber match. Snikeris said he was so focused on helping LSU bounce back, he wasn’t even sure he would watch a replay of Saturday’s pivotal play.
“It’s over with now, so we just have to move on,” Snikeris said. “We’re trying to focus on tomorrow. That’s the most important thing to us — a chance to go to Omaha.
“Nobody’s holding their heads down.”
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