By Jeff Palermo
LSU scored early and Tigers starting pitcher Eric Walker handled the rest as the Bayou Bengals advanced to the Super Regionals with a 5-0 victory over the Rice Owls.
It's the second consecutive year LSU beat Rice to advance in the NCAA Tournament. It's the first 13th trip to the Super Regionals for the program, tied for second most all time.
Rice advanced to play LSU in the Regional Finals by eliminating Southeastern Louisiana 9-5 earlier in the day.
Walker pitched well again on the big stage. After picking up the victory in the SEC Tournament championship game, the freshman from Texas was a strike throwing machine against the Owls. pitching into the 9th inning.
His final line was 8-plus innings, seven hits and eight strikeouts. 77 of his 98 pitches were strikes.
Reliever Zach Hess came into the game with a couple of runners on in the 9th inning and struck out the side.
The Tigers scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning to establish a lead and then they added runs in the 3rd and 4th innings.
Freshman Josh Smith had a solid night at the plate as he went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and a RBI. His run-scoring double started the scoring.
The Tigers were able to win this game, even though their 3-4-5 hitters went hitless. Antoine Duplantis, Greg Deichmann and Zach Watson were quiet in this one. LSU was held to six hits.
LSU will have to wait until Monday to find out who they'll host in the Super Regionals.
It will be either Mississippi State or Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles only need one win to advance, while the Bulldogs will have to win twice.
The Regional Finals in Hattiesburg start at 1 PM.