LSU head coach Jay Johnson couldn't have scripted Tuesday's win over Tennessee any better.
Facing a pitching shortage with three key starters all unavailable, Johnson turned to reliever Nate Ackenhausen for the start and got six scoreless innings while the Tigers' offense gradually built a lead.
Ackenhausen turned it over to Riley Cooper, who completed the three-inning save and allowed Johnson to preserve the rest of his key arms ahead of the semifinals.
Tennessee wasn't able to gain any momentum offensively in the early innings and couldn't capitalize on late-inning opportunities. The Volunteers loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning while trailing 2-0, but a soft groundout to first base summed up the night for Tony Vitello's team.
Vitello made a slew of pitching changes as desperation set in for Tennessee. In the end, no amount of pitching changes would've given the Vols what they needed: Runs.
The loss marks the end of the line for a Tennessee team that came to Omaha hungry for revenge. The Volunteers saw a historic season end in the super regionals last season but had a chance to erase the painful memories by making a deep run this year.
LSU, meanwhile, plays on. Phenom Dylan Crews hit a two-run home run in what would've been his final collegiate game had the Tigers lost, and he still has a chance to end his ridiculously impressive season with a championship.
The road ahead won't be easy for LSU, which will need to beat Wake Forest on back-to-back nights to stay alive, but the Tigers certainly have some momentum heading into Wednesday's matchup.
The Sporting News tracked live scoring updates and highlights from the College World Series game between LSU and Tennessee. Check out all of the key moments you might've missed.
LSU vs. Tennessee baseball score
LSU vs. Tennessee live updates, highlights from College World Series
(All times Eastern)
FINAL: LSU 5, Tennessee 0
10:01 p.m. — This one is OVER. Tennessee hits a couple balls hard in the bottom of the 9th, but LSU's defense handles its business and secures the shutout win. LSU will face Wake Forest tomorrow night.
9:57 p.m. — Tennessee gets out of the inning and heads to the bottom of the 9th trailing 5-0.
9:51 p.m. — Kirby Connell enters as Tennessee makes another pitching change, but the Vols will need a miracle from their offense whether or not Connell gets through unscathed.
9:46 p.m. LSU 5, Tennessee 0 — There's a College World Series home run for Dylan Crews! With the wind cooperating now, Crews hits one over the wall in right and gives LSU two more runs on the board. The Tigers lead 5-0.
9:41 p.m. — Christian Moore hits a double into the gap, and suddenly that double play looks even more devastating for Tennessee. The inning ends on another ground ball. LSU is three outs away.
9:40 p.m. — That rally isn't happening yet. Tennessee grounds into a double play to bring themselves four outs away from elimination.
9:39 p.m. — Leadoff single for Jared Dickey, who's hoping to spark the Vols' first true rally of the night.
9:36 p.m. — The inning comes to an end on a ground ball. Tennessee is going to need something from its offense it hasn't gotten yet tonight.
9:35 p.m. LSU 3, Tennessee 0 — A HUGE insurance run for the Tigers, who score on a wild pitch. LSU has rallied without making much contact in the 8th.
Tre’ comes home on a wild pitch— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) June 21, 2023
LSU - 3
TENN - 0 pic.twitter.com/2B6o9Pfudj
9:34 p.m. — The third hit-by-pitch of the inning loads the bases...
9:33 p.m. — The switch nearly worked out beautifully for Vitello... Sewell induces a ground ball and gets the out at second, but the ball is lost on the transfer and LSU avoids an inning-ending double play.
9:27 p.m. — Now another pitching change for Tennessee... Tony Vitello is bringing in Camden Sewell with a 1-2 count already in progress. Halvorsen could get the start for the Vols tomorrow if his offense mounts a comeback.
9:25 p.m. — Seth Halvorsen enters the game and immediately gets a flyout for the first out of the inning.
9:21 p.m. — Back-to-back hit-by-pitches have LSU threatening to break this game open. Runners on first and second with nobody out for the Tigers.
9:17 p.m. — Ensley grounds one to first, and a fired up Cooper escapes the jam. LSU is six outs away from eliminating Tennessee.
9:14 p.m. — Wow, this has turned into a bases loaded situation after a booted grounder by LSU's infield. Hunter Ensley is coming up with two outs in the biggest moment of the game for Tennessee.
9:09 p.m. — Riley Cooper gets one out on a ground ball and makes it two with a strikeout of Christian Scott.
9:04 p.m. — After review, umpires confirm a hit-by-pitch that puts Blake Burke on first. That'll do it for Ackenhausen, who will hope the bullpen can maintain the lead. The tying run is coming to the plate for Tennessee.
9:00 p.m. — Russell works through a rapid 7th inning to keep Tennessee's deficit at two, and Ackenhausen is still on the mound for LSU.
8:54 p.m. — What a performance by Ackenhausen! He strikes out Christian Moore to end the 6th and works six scoreless innings for LSU. If the Tigers hold on, this start won't be forgotten.
8:50 p.m. — Jay Johnson is really riding Ackenhausen, and it's hard to blame him. Ackenhausen has kept his pitch count manageable and opens the 6th with a strikeout.
8:47 p.m. — Tennessee escapes without further damage, and this is looking quite familiar for LSU. The Tigers couldn't hold onto a 2-0 lead last night. Will tonight bring better results?
8:41 p.m. — With runners on second and third and two outs, Tennessee is making a pitching change. In comes A.J. Russell.
8:36 p.m. LSU 2, Tennessee 0 — Disaster for Tennessee! Gavin Dugas lays down a perfect bunt, and Morgan scores after it's thrown away. Dugas is at second with the LSU lead now 2-0.
8:34 p.m. — Tre' Morgan has been mashing. He hits a leadoff double to left to get LSU started in the 6th.
8:31 p.m. — Exhale, LSU fans. Ackenhausen gets through the 5th inning without allowing a run, keeping the Tigers in the lead. Tennessee misses a big two-out opportunity.
8:29 p.m. — Ahuna follows a hit-by-pitch with a double, but Tennessee holds Cal Stark at third. That may be a decision the Vols end up regretting. Tennessee has runners on second and third with two outs.
8:24 p.m. — Jay Johnson keeps Ackenhausen in to start the 5th.
8:21 p.m. — Beam gets out of the inning, with all three outs coming on strikeouts. Tennessee's offense will need to start giving Beam some run support soon.
8:17 p.m. — Wow, Crews absolutely smokes a ball for a two-out single. Is it too late for LSU to come out of this inning with a run?
8:13 p.m. — Jay Johnson has to be thrilled with what he's gotten out of Ackenhausen so far. 1-0 LSU, through four.
8:07 p.m. — Tennessee gets through another inning unscathed, and now LSU is keeping Ackenhausen in the game rather than committing to the bullpen the rest of the way. This is a big test for Ackenhausen.
8:01 p.m. — Dickey pops up to the shallow outfield, and Ackenhausen is through three scoreless innings.
7:58 p.m. — Ackenhauser allows his third hit of the game, a two-out single by Maui Ahuna, and follows it up with a hit-by-pitch. Tennessee has Ahuna in scoring position with Jared Dickey up.
7:47 p.m. — Now the wind knocks down a fly ball from Tommy White... the conditions haven't been kind to LSU's big bats.
7:43 p.m. — Ackenhausen works around a pair of hits to get through another scoreless inning. 1-0 LSU, through two.
7:36 p.m. — Griffin Merritt opens the bottom of the 2nd with a single to give Tennessee its first hit.
7:32 p.m. — Crews hits one a ton with two outs, but the wind keeps it in the ballpark. It'll go down as a flyout as LSU heads to the bottom of the 2nd with a 1-0 lead.
7:26 p.m. — A nine-pitch scoreless first for Ackenhausen, who gives LSU the start it needed from its pitching staff.
7:25 p.m. — Ackenhausen opens his night with two relatively quick outs.
7:17 p.m. LSU 1, Tennessee 0 — Cade Beloso puts LSU on the board first! An RBI single with two outs scores Crews and gives the Tigers an early lead.
7:14 p.m. — A single for Tre' Morgan puts runners at the corners for LSU with one out. Tigers have a chance for an offensive breakthrough after last night's slog.
7:09 p.m. — Crews works a leadoff walk, but Drew Beam settles in with a strikeout of Tommy White.
7:05 p.m. — We are minutes away from first pitch. Will this be Dylan Crews' last game at LSU?
6:41 p.m. — With their top pitchers unavailable, the Tigers are rolling with Nate Ackenhausen on the mound tonight.
Nate Ackenhausen is starting for LSU #LSU— Leah Vann (@LVann_Sports) June 20, 2023
How to watch LSU vs. Tennessee
Tuesday night's elimination game between LSU and Tennessee will be broadcast on ESPN. Viewers can also follow the action on ESPN+ or Fubo, which offers a free trial.
Karl Ravech (play-by-play), Eduardo Perez (analyst) and Kyle Peterson (analyst) will be on the call from Omaha, while Kris Budden will be the on-site reporter.
How to watch 2023 College World Series
- Date: June 16-25 or 26
- Location: Charles Schwab Field, Omaha, Neb.
- TV channels: ESPN, ESPN2
- Live stream: ESPN+, Fubo
ESPN will continue its coverage of the NCAA Division I baseball tournament with the 2023 College World Series. Games will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2.
Fans will also be able to stream the games on ESPN+ or on Fubo, which offers a free trial.
College World Series schedule
Tuesday, June 20
|Game 9: TCU vs. Oral Roberts||2 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 10: LSU vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Wednesday, June 21
|Game 11: Florida vs. Game 9 winner||2 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
|Game 12: Wake Forest vs. Game 10 winner||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Thursday, June 22
|Game 11 rematch (if Florida loses)||2 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2, Fubo|
|Game 12 rematch (if Wake Forest loses)||7 p.m.||ESPN2, Fubo|
Saturday, June 24: College World Series finals Game 1
|Bracket 1 winner vs. Bracket 2 winner||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Sunday, June 25: College World Series finals Game 2
|Bracket 1 winner vs. Bracket 2 winner||3 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
Monday, June 27: College World Series finals Game 3*
|Bracket 1 winner vs. Bracket 2 winner||7 p.m.||ESPN, Fubo|
* - If necessary