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LSU Post-Season Play 1987 – Part 2
The Tigers opened NCAA tournament play in the six-team South II Regional at Privateer Park on campus of the University of New Orleans. Five of the teams were from Louisiana, including host UNO, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, and Southern. The sixth squad was Cal State Fullerton.
LSU (43-17) faced Tulane in the opening game of the double-elimination tournament at noon. The Tigers played the Green Wave twice during the season, winning 5-4 at Tulane in 15 innings and losing at home 9-7.
LSU would play without slugging junior outfielder Joey Belle. Coach Skip Bertman suspended him for the rest of the season. Skip had a rule that if Belle threw a helmet, abused an umpire, or cursed on his way to first base, he would be replaced immediately. The last straw was Belle going into the stands during the Southeastern Conference tournament to challenge a fan he said had been yelling racial slurs. Rob Hartwig replaced Belle in right field and make an impact in the opening game.
Junior left-hander Gregg Patterson (7-2, 1.58 ERA) started for LSU. Despite starting for the third time in eight days, he went the distance. So did Sam Amarena (10-2, 3.62) for Tulane.

L-R: Rob Hartwig, Gregg Patterson, Pete Bush
David Smith belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to put the Greenies ahead 2-1. LSU tied the game in the fourth when 1B Pete Bush drilled a change-up just inside the right-field foul pole.
The Tigers retook the lead in the fifth. Leading off again, Hartwig hit a dribbler down the third-base line. Amarena fielded the ball and unleashed a high throw that allowed the runner to go to second. Hartwig then stole third again, then scored on a suicide-squeeze bunt by SS Dave Cunningham.

L-R: Craig Faulkner, Mike Papajohn, Andy Galy
Tulane came right back with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a single, a sacrifice, and another single. LSU made it four straight one-run innings in the sixth when C Craig Faulkner swatted his 12th homer of the season.
The Tigers kept their streak alive by returning to small ball in the seventh. CF Mike Papajohn led off with a bunt single. With one out, 2BGaly walked. Cunningham's bloop singled knocked in Papajahn to make it 5-3 LSU.
The Green Wave had the tying run at first base with two out in the ninth after C Richard Parker and 3B Billy Rapp singled, with Rapp's being his fifth hit in five at-bats. But Troy Mitchell grounded out to Galy to end the game.

L-R: Dan Kite, Terry Belle, Jack Voigt
The Tigers faced UNO the next day. The Privateers belted Louisiana Tech 18-5 in the first round. Coach Tom Schwaner was hospitalized prior to the LSU game with kidney stones.Interim coach Andre Desjardins said after the Tigers belted his club 14-1, "Thank God he (Schwaner) wasn't here tonight, or he would have been a lot worse."
Sophomore Dan Kite pitched a three-hitter and struck out a career-high 11. Junior Terry Belle, Albert's brother, started a 19-hit assault on three UNO hurlers with a two-run homer in the second inning. 1B Bush added a three-run blast in the third. Every Tiger starter collected at least one hit, with Bush, Jack Voigt, and Cunningham getting three each while Belle and Galy got two apiece.
After beating Southern 6-2 to stay alive in the tournament, UNO faced the Tigers again. This game was much more competitive.
LSU right-hander Stan Loewer held the Privateers to three hits in the first eight innings before back-to-back singles in the ninth brought Barry Manuel in from the bullpen. Manuel struck out the first two batters he faced, then got a fly out to seal the 3-0 victory.
The Tigers scored their first run on Papajahn's triple that scored Belle, who had been hit by a pitch. Papajohn then scored on Helwig's grounder. LSU added another run in the fifth without the benefit of a hit. Belle drew a leadoff walk. After an out, Hartwig and Cunningham walked to load the bases. A wild pitch plated the third tally.
The Tigers advanced to the championship game against the other undefeated team, #1-seed Cal State Fullerton. Since neither team had lost a game, each had a day off. That allowed Coach Bertman to start Patterson again.
The key inning was the fifth. Fullerton led 2-0 on a home run by Andy Mota with a man on in the first. Faulkner punched an opposite field single, but Bush flied out. Then 3B Richie Vasquez slapped a single to left, and DH Joe Lewis walked to load the bases.
Papajahn sent Faulkner home with a sacrifice fly. That brought up ninth-plavce hitter Hartwig. He hit a one-hopper back to the mound. P Longo Garcia wanted to start a 1-2-3 double play but had trouble getting the ball out of his glove and everyone advanced a base as the speedy Hartwig beat the throw to first.
Galy blooped a single down the right-field that was booted by RF Ken Garcia. Lewis scored from second, but Garcia recovered the ball in time to nail Hartwig at the plate. LSU led 3-1.
Cal State tied the game in the sixth on Greg Mannion's homer on a hung slider.
The Tigers got a break in the top of the seventh to take the lead. With Hartwig on first with a two-out walk, Garcia picked him off. But the home plate umpire ruled that Garcia had balked. Galy, a .400+ hitter all season with men in scoring position, delivered a single to make it 4-3 LSU.
LSU broke the game open in the eighth. After Faulkner's single knocked out Garcia, Bush bunted the runner to second. Vasquez's double made it 5-3. He moved to third on a fly out, then came home on Papajohn's single. The pitcher's wild pickoff throw to first sent Mike all the way to third, and he scored on Hartwig's single. 7-3 LSU to earn a second straight trip to Omaha.
Patterson won the tournament MVP award for his two complete game victories.
To be continued ...

Golden Baseball Magazine