Monday, June 4, 2012
Goody "electric" for Tigers
By Gary Laney
BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU closer Nick Goody slumped before the Baton Rouge regional, but in two shutout innings in two days, the right-hander had fantastic stuff.
He struck out the side in the 10th inning in Sunday's 6-5, 10-inning win over Oregon State for his 11th save of the season, setting up the Beavers hitters with hard fastballs, then finishing them off with nasty sliders on all three third strikes.
"He was electric," said Oregon State closer Scott Schultz, who was pretty good in his own right in 8 2/3 innings of splendid relief work for OSU in the loss. "He spotted his fast ball and his slider was pretty good. But he spotted his fastball, just like a major leaguer."
It was surprising to see OSU's hitter's swinging at sliders out of the strike zone against Goody after watching them have the discipline to lay off two-strike pitches out of strike zone all weekend, including many nasty pitches from LSU ace Kevin Gausman in Saturday's 7-1 loss.
"Goody looked like he was throwing 100 mph to that first batter (Ryan Barnes)," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.
That made the Oregon State hitters have to commit to swinging early and made them chase pitches they hadn't chased all weekend.
"When it's coming that hard," Mainieri said, "you have to sell out to the fast ball."
Barnes struck out on a bad slider at eye level, "but with it coming at the level it was, he had to think it was a fastball," Manieri said.
Then Goody got Kavin Keyes to strike out on a slider in the dirt, then froze Ryan Gorton with a 1-2 slider, the nastiest of the three, and this one for a strike that Gorton watched to end the game and OSU's season.
Pulling for his pal: LSU doesn't know who it's going to host yet in the super regional, but Mainieri knows who he's pulling for.
Central Florida lost to Stony Brook on Sunday and will have to play the Seawolves again Monday with the winner advancing to play at LSU in a super regional Friday. UCF is coached by Terry Rooney, who coached under Mainieri as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU in 2007-08. Rooney also coached under Mainieri at Notre Dame for three years as Mainieri's pitching coach.
"I'm rooting like crazy for Terry," Mainieri admitted. "I coached with him for five years ... he's an unbelievably loyal guy and hard worker, he deserves a lot of credit for the (2009) national championship and the trip to Omaha in '08. We built it together.
"When you do things like that, you don't ever forget. Our friendship will trump any competition we ever have on the field."
SEC dominance: LSU became the fourth SEC team to advance to a super regional, joining South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas.
Vanderbilt and Mississippi will play Monday to try to grow the number to six teams.
The SEC went 5-4 in Sunday's regional games with four teams advancing and two getting eliminated. The league's regional record is 19-6, highlighted by Saturday's 8-0 day.
"Playing in this conference weekend in and weekend out where every game is such a donnybrook, the field is littered with future major league players that are unbelievable talent," Mainieri said. "These guys see 90-to-96 mph every game. It just prepares you for these kinds of situations.
"To see the other SEC teams go out and do well is absolutely no surprise to us. They've all been in tough environments."
Miscellaneous: Attendance for the regional's six games was 34,239 ... LSU will have a watch party Monday evening for baseball's First-Year Player Draft. Gausman is expected to go with one of the first picks. ... Raph Rhymes' first-inning home run was the only one of the regional.