Loyola Shines, Beats LSU, 4-3, in College World Series Opener
Loyola Marymount opened the College World Series with an assist from the sun and hammered one of the best relievers in the country to defeat Louisiana State, 4-3, Friday.
An estimated crowd of 10,000 in Rosenblatt Stadium saw the Lions take a 3-0 lead on a ball lost in the sun by LSU outfielder Joey Belle.
That lead held up until Loyola starter Tim Layana tired in the late innings and the Tigers caught up in the eighth.
In typical fashion, Loyola sluggers Billy Bean and Chris Donnels then greeted reliever Barry Manuel with consecutive doubles for the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Jeff Goettsch pitched the last 1 innings to earn the victory.
Loyola’s first-ever College World Series victory improved its record to 50-13. LSU fell to 54-13.
The Lions made their own breaks, playing outstanding defense to prevent at least two runs, while LSU was committing two errors and allowing two other hits that benefited from charitable scoring.
“They deserved to win,” LSU Coach Skip Bertman said.
The key play of the first six innings came in the bottom of the second. After Donnels opened the inning with a single, catcher Jim McAnany was hit by a pitch, and Todd Elliott doubled in a run.
LSU starter Mark Guthrie got two outs, then induced second baseman Bobby DeJardin to hit a lazy fly to right. Belle, a sophomore who doesn’t wear sunglasses, lost the ball in the glare and had it carom off his glove for a two-run error.
“One of the shortcomings we have is Joe Belle is not an outstanding outfielder,” Bertman said. “It caught up with us today.”
LSU finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh on a walk and two singles. It tied the game in the eighth on a walk, two singles and a scoring ground-out before Goettsch (9-4) put down the threat.
Loyola quickly struck back against Manuel (10-3), who entered the game with eight saves. Bean ripped a line drive down the right-field line, and Donnels followed with a shot into the gap in left-center.
“Two good hitters got a hit,” was Bertman’s terse explanation.
With the victory, Loyola earned the weekend off. The Lions will play Arizona, an 8-7 winner over Maine, at 5 p.m. Monday.