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Sixteen years later, more HR drama for LSU

6/9/2012

BATON ROUGE, La. -- It was 16 years ago Friday that Warren Morris hit perhaps the most celebrated home run in LSU history, as his walk-off, two-run home run against Miami at the College World Series gave LSU a win and a national title.

On Friday, the Tigers again delivered memories with clutch postseason long balls. While none of LSU's three home runs in the first game of the best-of-three super regional series against Stony Brook were nearly as singularly dramatic as Morris' "Shot Heard 'Round the Bayou," they added another unique chapter to the storied program's history collectively.

Before rain suspended the game at 4-4 at the end of the 11th inning, LSU faced a one-run deficit and was down to its last half-inning in the bottom of three straight innings. In each, a Tiger came through with a game-tying homer.

JaCoby Jones (ninth inning), Tyler Moore (10th inning) and Mason Katz (11th inning) all blasted solo shots after Stony Brook took the lead in the top of the inning.

"I think this is a first for me," Paul Mainieri said when asked if he recalled ever being in involved in a game that was extended by a home run in three straight innings. "I've only coached 1,700 games in my life, so it's hard to remember every one of them, but I can't recall three straight innings where there was a home run like that."

Jones and Katz both hit leadoff blasts. The most dramatic of the three was by Moore, who came up with two outs and had a 3-2 count, down to his last strike. He fouled off two James Campbell two-strike offerings before turning on a fast ball and sending it out of the park with a line drive to right field.

"I was just trying to stay alive and hit something hard in play," the right-handed hitting Moore said. "The ball met the barrel and just carried out."

Jones and Moore, who also homered off Campbell, shared one more common element: A second life. A couple of pitches before both home runs, both hit foul pop-ups to the outfield that were potentially playable.

In the ninth, Jones popped one to the area behind the LSU bullpen down the right field line. Right-fielder Sal Intagliata raced over, but could not negiotate the area around where the tarp is stored and the ball landed foul.

"It was a tough play," said Intagliata, "but no excuses, I should have made it."

Two pitches later, Jones lined it over the left field fence and tied it at 2-2.

An inning later, Moore hit one into the left field bullpen that left fielder Steven Goldstein had a jump on until he stumbled in the bullpen.

"(Foul territory) is a bit further than we're used to at Stony Brook," Godstein said. "I actually hit the mound a bit and lost my vision, up and down, and over ran it."

If Goldstein caught the ball, he'd have been the hero of the day because he had just hit a solo home run in the top of the 10th off LSU reliever Chris Cotton to give the Seawolves a 3-2 lead. Instead, Moore homered a couple pitches later and the game played on.

Katz pounded a 2-0 fastball from Jasvir Rakkar over the left field bleachers for a game-tying leadoff home run in the 11th, but a footnote to the story came after his round-tripper when Raph Rhymes missed a walk-off home run with a shot off Rakkar over the left field fence that went foul "by six or seven inches" by Mainieri's estimation. Rhymes eventually struck out.

Two teams that combined for just 72 home runs entering the game hit five Friday and just missed a walk-off sixth.

And it's not over yet.