Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LSU- Patience at the plate pays off!

Great article on how LSU has stayed patient at the plate this year.

Here is the story by Gary Laney:

OMAHA, Neb. — Ryan Schimpf said he was just trying to get a pitch to hit.

He never got it, so his first plate appearance of the night turned into a marathon, 13-pitch walk and an early turning point in LSU’s 9-1 win over Arkansas on Monday that put the Tigers among the final four teams at the College World Series.

The epic battle between Schimpf and Arkansas starter Brett Eibner included seven two-strike pitches that Schimpf fouled off before Eibner finally blinked and threw ball four.

Before that, there were an array of balls that were batted into souvenir status or into the net that protects the fans behind home plate.

“I thought Ryan Schimpf’s at-bat was really one of the better at-bats of the year,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “That was amazing. He just kept battling. And give credit to Eibner, he just kept pumping strikes in there and he ended up getting the walk. And I think that set the tone for the game.”

It also set a pattern. Three batters later, Mikie Mahtook also spoiled a two-strike pitch before belting a three-run home run into the left-field bleachers. In the sixth inning, Jared Mitchell fouled off a two-strike pitch before delivering a full-count, RBI single.

LSU finished with 13 hits, three home runs and all nine runs scored with two outs, a sign the Tigers weren’t just swinging from the heels and knocking the cover off the ball. They were also scrapping at the plate.

“When we get deep into counts, we are not worrying about it,” Schimpf said. “We’ve just been fighting and battling and we are doing a good job seeing the ball in Omaha so far.”

Schimpf’s walk came after DJ LeMahieu led off the game with a single. Three batters after Schimpf, Mahtook slammed a hanging slider into the left-field bleachers. By the end of the inning, Eibner had labored for 39 pitches.

“The more pitches he throws, Mahtook said, “the more likely he’s going to make a mistake.”

And get tired. The long first inning guaranteed LSU would get into the Arkansas bullpen early.

“That’s the key to being successful,” said right fielder Jared Mitchell, whose three hits included a two-out, two-strike RBI single in the sixth inning that came after he fouled off a two-strike pitch. “Get that starter out and get to somebody else.”

That is something LSU is doing exceptionally well in the postseason. Monday was the sixth straight game where the opponent’s starter didn’t get out of the sixth inning. In five of those six games, the other guy hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning.

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