LSU was completely thrashed by Oregon State earlier in the bracket round of the College World Series to the tune of a 13-1 defeat. The Tigers have played with a fire since then, eliminating Florida State from tournament contention on Wednesday, 7-4, then bouncing back from embarrassment to knock off Oregon State, 3-1, on Friday.
The loss put an end to the Beavers’ 23-game winning streak dating back to April 22.
Flamethrower Alex Lange was masterful on the hill against Oregon State, throwing 7 1/3 innings of work, good for eight strikeouts of 28 batters faced. He threw 115 pitches, 69 of them strikes.
Zack Hess spelled Lange in the eighth, and he needed just 23 pitches — 15 of those for strikes — to work his way out of the last five outs. The big boy pitcher currently sports the “Wild Thing” haircut shave from the Major League franchise on the back of his head, and he dealt absolute heat to strike out the day’s final batter.
Here’s his reaction to forcing a bracket-deciding rubber match with the Beavs on Saturday.
Zack "Wild Thing" Hess SLAMS THE DOOR! #CWS pic.twitter.com/jIMAGMvXbR— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 23, 2017
That’s a big time celebration for the hurler, and synecdoche for LSU on a grander scale, insofar as they were crushed by 12 runs just days previous. Skipper Paul Mainieri was asked about Hess’ personality after the big win, and, well:
Paul Mainieri on Zack Hess: "The players all call him Psycho, but that doesn't really define who he is."— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) June 23, 2017
The Tigers and Beavers will meet to decide one of the College World Series’ final two teams on Saturday, time to be announced.
UPDATE: Zack Hess has kindly agreed via tweet not to strangle his day’s starter after such a masterful performance — despite Lange calling him gross on Twitter — what with Lange holding the Beavs down to just one run in the victory. Thank you, Zack “Wild Thing” Hess, you’re the best.
Dear Lange, Great job today on the 30th Win. And thank you for the compliment. Now I won't strangle you in your sleep. With love, Hess ❤️— Zack Hess (@Zack_Hess44) June 24, 2017