COLUMBIA — "Root, root, root for the road team."
This could have been the refrain Saturday at Taylor Stadium, where No. 2 LSU clobbered the Missouri baseball team 8-0. Even after a five-hour rain delay, which several LSU fans spent tailgating under cover in the parking lots along Carrie Francke Drive outside the stadium, hundreds of purple-and-gold clad fans filled the seats behind the LSU dugout along the first-base line.
No. 2 Louisiana State (25-2,7-1 SEC)
at Missouri (9-14, 2-6 SEC)
WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Taylor Stadium
"We want a home-field advantage and, hell, we felt like we were in Alex Box," MU outfielder Logan Pearson said. "Their fans stomped our fans today."
The LSU fans hooted and hollered throughout the game. They had a whole lot to cheer about.
LSU's pitchers held Missouri scoreless for the second straight game. This time, it was highly touted major-league prospect Ryan Eades who shut down the Tigers, throwing a career-high eight innings.
Missouri starter Brett Graves allowed three one-run home runs in four innings, bringing the visiting crowd to its feet.
"He proved the first three innings he couldn’t throw a breaking ball for a strike, so they didn’t even pay any attention to it. They sat fastball," MU coach Tim Jamieson said. "The counts were 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 and 3-1, so you know what’s coming."
Griffin Goodrich, who replaced Graves, fared worse, allowing five runs in two-thirds of an inning, including a towering home run over the foul pole in left field, third baseman Christian Ibarra's second of the game. Chants of "L-S-U" roared from the first-base line while the considerably smaller Missouri contingent sitting opposite the purple and gold sat in silence.
Among the LSU fans, Pearson said, were six members of his own family. Born in Lake Charles, La., Pearson grew up in a family of LSU fans. It was only fitting that his "mama," aunt, uncle and three younger siblings came up to Columbia for the weekend series.
"They’re all rooting for LSU, but they’re still rooting for me, too," Pearson said.
As Pearson walked slowly toward the Tigers' postgame huddle in shallow left field with his head down, he heard a voice from behind the wall along the third base line. It was his little sister.
"It's all right. It's OK. We love you anyway," she said.
Pearson turned his head toward his family and his face lit up. For a moment, the weight of a blowout loss had been lifted.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.