OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Bennett Lee drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning right after he made a huge defensive play at the plate, leading No. 1 national seed Wake Forest to a 3-2 victory over LSU in the College World Series on Monday night.
The Demon Deacons (54-10) are now in control of their bracket and a win away from the best-of-three finals. Their next game is Wednesday against the winner of a Tuesday elimination game between SEC rivals LSU and Tennessee. The Deacons would have to lose twice to be denied a spot in the finals.
Lee, the Deacons’ catcher, made one of the plays of the CWS in the top of the eighth when he snagged third baseman Brock Wilken’s bouncing throw and tagged out Tre’ Morgan to keep the game tied 2-all.
After Danny Corona lashed Thatcher Hurd’s breaking pitch down the right-field line for a double in the bottom half, Lee followed with a base hit into left that brought Corona home and produced Wake Forest’s second straight come-from-behind win.
Wake Forest closer Camden Minacci (1-1) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish off the Tigers (49-16).
LSU starter Ty Floyd limited the Deacons to two hits and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts before he lost his command in the sixth inning. He walked the first three batters, prompting coach Jay Johnson to call on Hurd (6-3) to face the national home run co-leader in Wilken.
Wilken sent a ball up the middle for an RBI single, and the tying run came home when Justin Johnson hit into a double play.
The Tigers opened the scoring against Wake Forest starter Josh Hartle in the third.
Tommy White singled in a run and scored from second when Morgan tripled on a fly ball left fielder Adam Cecere lost in the sun.
Hartle went six innings and struck out nine, running his season total to a Wake Forest-record 140.
The Deacons turned back the Tigers in the eighth when things looked dire. LSU had runners on the corners with none out after Morgan doubled down the line and moved over when Hayden Travinski reached on an error.
Wilken backhanded Cade Beloso’s grounder down the line, double-pumped and bounced a throw home to Lee, who put the tag on Morgan on a close play that stood up on video review. The inning ended when Wilken picked up Gavin Dugas’ grounder to start a double play.
LSU’s Dylan Crews, projected to be the first or second player selected in the amateur draft next month, was 0 for 3 but extended his on-base streak to 69 games when he walked in the seventh.
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