HOOVER, Ala. — LSU got back to its hotel around 3:45 a.m. after a 6-5 loss to Mississippi State in a 17 inning game, and junior shortstop Josh Smith said most of the team didn't go to sleep until 4:30 a.m.
The reward for playing the longest game is Southeastern Conference Tournament history? Team breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and an elimination game against Auburn at 12:30 p.m.
"During breakfast it was kind of chill, but when we all got off the bus it felt like we drank seven Monsters," said freshman Drew Bianco, who scored the winning run as a pinch runner. "We we're all energetic and ready to play. Like [LSU coach Paul Mainieri] says we're 18 to 22-year-old kids, if we can't bounce back and play baseball in great stadium like that there could be worse things we could be doing.
"I think that's what we did. We just wanted to show we could make a run, and we really wanted to be a host in a regional and to win this game is huge and we know that. I think that's why we played with a lot of energy today."
Bianco came on for sophomore catcher Saul Garza as a pinch runner in the bottom of the ninth down one with one out. Senior Chris Reid stepped in for sophomore third baseman Hal Hughes at the plate and watched as a few breaking balls landed in the dirt.
Finally, one got loose and after freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo made the decision to bolt for home, Bianco took his place at third. Then as soon as he saw an errant throw to home in an attempt to get DiGiacomo out, Bianco kicked it into high-gear on his way to the plate.
The plan was for Reid to get a base hit, and Bianco knew if that happened he was heading home no matter. After an almost seven-hour marathon game, it was clear LSU was playing for the win and trying to avoid extras.
Things didn't happen that way, but Bianco scored anyway and said he gave DiGiacomo a hug at home plate before being mobbed by Smith and the rest of his teammates.
"I'm not trying to sound cocky, but I mean, I'm pretty fast," Bianco said. "I think people see the big legs and don't think I can't run. I can run pretty good, and if that's what the team needs me to be — a pinch runner — whatever helps us win."
The win gives LSU another shot to boost its chances to host a regional, and the Tigers will head back out to the Hoover Met on Friday to play the loser of Vanderbilt and Mississippi State in the afternoon game.