By. Matt Reynolds
LSU captures KRRC crown, Iowa prevails in 9th
Game 1: Iowa 6, Kansas State 5
Anthony’s go-ahead 9th inning homer gives Hawkeyes 6-5 win
Keaton Anthony’s three hits and go-ahead home run in the 9th inning off Wildcats reliever Tyson Neighbors was enough to give the Hawkeyes their second win in Round Rock and kept their hopes alive for the KRRC championship belt.
The Hawkeyes were able to get on the board early after a botched popup fell into shallow center field, keeping the inning alive and led to a run after an error from Wildcats first baseman Ryan Lodice.
Iowa kept their foot on the gas in the third, scoring two runs off Kyle Huckstorf’s two-run single, pushing their lead to 4-0.
Kansas State would make a comeback of their own, tacking on one in the third and scoring three runs in the fourth on a Raphael Pelletier two-run single and a steal of home from Brady Day.
“It has to be who we are offensively to get on base and put pressure on people,” said Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes. “If you’re not going to score 10 runs and give them extra outs defensively, you can’t beat someone like that.”
Wildcats’ starter German Fajardo threw 4.1 innings, giving up four on seven hits while striking out five.
Making his first start in right field for the Wildcats was Carson Queck, who made a great impression with a triple and two walks.
However, Sunday afternoon’s game was the Keaton Anthony show. The Iowa designated hitter finished 3-for-5 with a dinger and two doubles.
“It felt amazing, all the hard work that we put in it just feels amazing just to let it show,” said Anthony. “I was gearing up, I knew he was going to throw a fastball and I turned tight, tried to hit it to left field and that’s what happened.”
Game 2: LSU 16, Sam Houston State 4
Tigers throw home run party to win the 2023 Karbach Round Rock Classic
The #1 LSU Tigers would not be stopped, hammering out 23 hits en route to a 16-4 win over Sam Houston State to take home the coveted KRRC championship belt.
The Tiger offensive show was led by great performances from their stars, including top draft prospect Dylan Crews. The outfielder impressed, going 5-for-6 with three doubles and four RBI’s. Right fielder Brayden Jobert had his fourth career multi-home run game with two deep shots to right field to increase the LSU lead to 8-0 in the third inning.
“I was trying to get the offense moving, trying to put up a good at-bat, and I ended up hitting a home run and that set our team on fire and we took off from there,” said Jobert.
Sunday was a special day for Crews for multiple reasons, as he was celebrating his 21st birthday and getting five hits was definitely a nice present. The question was, how would he celebrate?
“I’m going to have a big ol’ steak for sure,” said Crews. “It was a great win today, definitely the best birthday gift I’ve had.”
Something that shouldn’t get lost in LSU’s win was the pitching performance from their entire staff. Entering Sunday, Sam Houston State had 31 hits as an offense in their two games at Dell Diamond. Though against the Tigers, the Bearkats only mustered four runs on eight hits.
“What I noticed in this tournament was that [Sam Houston] was unbelievable at hitting mistakes,” said LSU head coach Jay Johnson. “We didn’t want them to get a look at anyone twice the way they were swinging the bat, and it turned out good and it was a nice performance by the staff.”
First baseman Jared Jones and shortstop Jordan Thompson also had nice days at the plate for the Tigers. Jones went 2-for-4 with a mammoth home run to left field. Thompson was 3-for-5 with two RBI singles.
On the mound for the Bearkats, starting RHP Logan Hewitt struggled from the get-go and allowed eight runs on nine hits before getting pulled in the third inning.
Offensively, shortstop Myles Jefferson and third baseman Justin Wishkoski contributed for the Bearkats. Jefferson finished his strong tournament at the plate going 2-for-3 with a two-run single. Wishkoski mashed his first home run of the season in the seventh inning to cap off a great tournament for the senior.
With the 2023 Karbach Round Rock Classic concluded, the focus shifts north to the Frisco Classic taking place next weekend.