OMAHA, Neb. — LSU missed its mark Monday night, and not just on the scoreboard.
The Tigers pitching staff — all eight players who saw action, tying a College World Series record — allowed 12 walks against Oregon State.
It was the most walks in a game during the Paul Mainieri era and the most since matching the mark against Central Florida in 2000. You have to go back to 1998 to find a game in which LSU walked more batters.
Combine that with two wild pitches and a hit batter, and it was one of the worst nights LSU has had on the mound in more than a decade.
“It was tough,” Mainieri said. “Best pitch in baseball is a strike. I’ve seen a lot of games in my life — over 2,000 of them — but when you walk a lot of batters, you greatly reduce your chances of winning. I’ve learned that.”
The game started with freshman Eric Walker throwing relatively well, with the exception of a lone earned run.
But his outing ended unexpectedly early after an arm injury just before the start of the third inning.
It was all downhill from there.
The Tigers threw almost every arm they had available in the bullpen to stop the bleeding against the Beavers, but to no avail.
Before he left, Walker did not walk any of the seven batters he faced. His successors did not fare as well.
The next four pitchers LSU sent to the mound walked at least two batters a piece, headlined by Hunter Newman, who sent four Beavers to first base without a swing of the bat.
More than 60 percent of Newman’s 38 pitches landed outside the strike zone. As a team, 90 of LSU’s 197 pitches went for balls.
“Some of the guys we brought in haven’t pitched a lot, and that’s probably why,” Mainieri said. “They haven’t thrown enough strikes to pitch a lot. Hopefully the next time they get opportunities, they’ll be a little bit better. Nick…