LSU closer Chris Cotton keeps throwing nearly unhittable stuff, but the school’s single-season saves record continues to elude his grasp.
Cotton pitched two innings of hitless relief Saturday night to complete the Tigers’ 11-1 victory over Oklahoma, clinching the Baton Rouge Super Regional to send LSU back to the College World Series for the first time since 2009.
But because LSU built such a big late lead, scoring a run in the eighth and six more in the ninth, Cotton was ineligible for a save. Will LaMarche, who pitched 1.2 innings in relief of starter Ryan Eades after a fifth-inning weather delay, did get the win to improve to 3-0.
Matty Ott set the school record with 16 saves in 2009, a record Cotton matched June 1 in LSU’s 8-5 NCAA regional victory over Sam Houston State.
In a 5-1 regional final victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, Cotton pitched a hitless ninth but again didn’t qualify for a save.
A senior left-hander from Shreveport, Cotton is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run since giving up two in his only loss April 27 against South Carolina.
Since then, Cotton has thrown 16 innings in 12 appearances, with two wins, seven saves and just two hits allowed.
LSU will accept CWS ticket requests from baseball season ticket holders through 5 p.m. Monday, according to the school.
Season ticket holders may make requests Monday by logging into their accounts at LSUtix.net, in person at the LSU athletic ticket office or by phone at (225) 578-2184 or (800) 960-8587 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Senior Associate Athletic Director Herb Vincent said LSU received only a small allotment of tickets. He said the school doesn’t expect any tickets will remain for non-season ticket holders after Monday’s deadline.
Tickets are $34-36 for opening-round games 1-4; $29-31 for games 5-14; and $34-36 for the championship series.
A limited number of reserved tickets will be available each game day during the CWS at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional tickets may be available through the NCAA Ticket Exchange at NCAA.com.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri said one factor his team will have to overcome is that none of his players have CWS experience. No Tigers remain on the roster from LSU’s national championship run in 2009.
That isn’t an issue for UCLA, the team the Tigers will open against in Omaha.
The Bruins followed No. 4-seeded LSU (57-9) as the second team to qualify for the CWS with a 3-0 victory late Saturday night at Cal State Fullerton, sweeping the super regional there from the No. 5-seeded Titans.
UCLA won Friday 5-3 in the super regional opener.
The Bruins (44-17) are back in Omaha for the third time in the last four seasons. UCLA also went in 2010, losing the championship series to South Carolina, and 2012.
The Bruins only hit .251 as a team, led by Kevin Kramer (.279, three home runs, 40 RBIs) and Eric Filia (.278, one homer, 25 RBIs).
Pitching is UCLA’s strength, led by starters Nick Vander Tuig (12-4, 2.37) and Adam Plutko (8-3, 2.35) and reliever David Berg (7-0, 0.88, 21 saves).
Game times and order of play for the College World Series are expected to be announced Monday, according to LSU. First-round games are set for 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park.
After taking Sunday off, the Tigers will return Monday to Alex Box Stadium for their first pre-CWS practice.
LSU will leave Thursday for Omaha. The Tigers’ first practice session there will be Friday.