- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2009

— Sean Ochinko’s three-run homer gave LSU the lead in the fifth inning, and Ryan Schimpf’s two-run blast in the eighth broke open the game for the Tigers, who beat Virginia 9-5 in the College World Series on Saturday night.

LSU, ranked No. 1 in the major polls and the No. 3 national seed, extended its season-high win streak to 11 games.

The Tigers (52-16) play Arkansas on Monday night, with the winner of that game taking control of Bracket 1. Virginia (48-14-1), in the CWS for the first time, meets Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game that day.

With LSU trailing 4-3, Micah Gibbs and Mikie Mahtook reached on singles leading off the bottom of the fifth. Ochinko then drove a 2-1 pitch from Matt Packer (3-5) into the left-field bleachers to put the Tigers up 6-4.

Franco Valdes’ opposite-field home run to left off Austin Ross made it 6-5 in the seventh. Ross (6-7) and three other pitchers combined to hold the Cavaliers to two hits and no runs the rest of the way.

Schimpf’s 20th home run of the season, off Tyler Wilson, gave record-setting closer Matty Ott a four-run cushion when he went to the mound for the ninth. After he gave up a double to Valdes, Ott struck out Jarrett Parker to end LSU’s first win in a CWS opener in four Omaha appearances.

The game matched Virginia coach Brian O’Connor against his mentor and close friend, LSU’s Paul Mainieri. O’Connor was Mainieri’s pitching coach on Notre Dame’s 2002 CWS team, and when he left for Virginia in 2004, the two vowed to never play each other unless it was in the NCAA tournament.

The emotional meeting came on Division I baseball’s biggest stage and lasted 3 hours, 40 minutes. The teams combined for 28 hits and used nine pitchers.

Virginia, down 3-2, loaded the bases with one out in the fourth against LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo. Reliever Paul Bertuccini came on to strike out Phil Gosselin, then LSU left fielder Schimpf sprinted to his right to catch Danny Hultzen’s liner to end the threat.

ARKANSAS 10, CAL ST.FULLERTON 6: Andy Wilkins homered and drove in five runs to help the Razorbacks (40-22) start off the College World Series with a victory against the Titans (47-15).

Arkansas ripped freshman pitcher Noe Ramirez while stunning the second-seeded Titans and giving Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn his first victory in seven CWS games.

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