LSU has reason not to underestimate Stony Brook
By Les East
June 08, 2012
It’s easy to understand why top-seeded LSU will not underestimate fourth-seeded Stony Brook during the Baton Rouge super regional this weekend at Alex Box Stadium.
In addition to the requisite need to respect every opponent, the Tigers know first-hand that the seemingly obvious choice — whether a team or an individual player — isn’t always the one that comes out on top.
Sure, the Tigers’ NCAA pedigree easily outshines that of the Seawolves. But LSU’s six national championship teams and 100-plus NCAA tournament victories before this season didn’t win it a single game this year. The Tigers’ 46 victories were earned by the players on this year’s team, often by players who seemed as likely to be heroes as Stony Brook might have seemed as a potential super regional participant.
It was just last Sunday that junior outfielder Alex Edward, who had just 51 at-bats and four RBIs entering the regional, came through with a game-tying RBI double that rescued the Tigers as they were two outs from being forced into a winner-take-all regional final. But thanks to Edward and others, LSU won an inning later and was on its way to the super regional.
This super regional might well have been played somewhere other than Alex Box Stadium had not Jackson Slaid, who had just eight previous at-bats in Southeastern Conference play, come out of the bullpen and hit an RBI single that broke a 10th-inning tie at South Carolina and helped the Tigers win the regular-season conference title on the final day.
LSU might not have been in contention for the regular-season title had not a day earlier, Jordy Snikeris — in the lineup because starting catcher Ty Ross had undergone an emergency appendectomy six days before that — hit a two-run homer and an RBI single to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 victory in the series opener.
Additionally, LSU likely wouldn’t have been in position to win the title on the last day of the regular season if not for an 8-7 victory at No. 1 Florida on the day before Easter in which the Tigers came back from a 7-2 deficit.
Left-hander Brent Bonvillain, who entered the game with a 4.50 ERA, threw four scoreless innings of relief, striking out five, as he bought his teammates time to rally.
Outfielder Arby Fields, who only got in the game out of necessity after Edward got hurt less than 48 hours after Raph Rhymes got hurt, tripled to drive in a run, then scored the tying run. Freshman Tyler Moore helped fuel the comeback with four hits and two runs.
So as the underdog Seawolves arrive at The Box, LSU can’t look at them and not be reminded of Edward, Slaid, Snikeris, Bonvillain, Fields, Moore and others who bucked the odds in contributing to the Tigers being the apparent favorite in this super regional.
LSU knows that the seemingly unlikely happens quite often, because it’s lived it.