LSU coach Paul Mainieri was thrilled, but not at all surprised, when he watched his former All-American shortstop, Alex Bregman, deliver a walk-off hit Monday morning for the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the World Series.
Bregman’s two-out single off of Los Angeles Dodgers relief ace Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the 10th inning gave Houston an electrifying 13-12 victory and a 3-2 Series lead. Game 6 is set for 7:20 p.m. CT Tuesday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
“I can’t think of a player that I’ve coached in my career that deserved that moment more than Alex,” Mainieri said. “He was made for moments like that. I saw him deliver many, many times in those types of situations during his three years (2013-15) at LSU.”
Game 5 began at 7:20 p.m. Sunday night in Houston’s Minute Maid Park, and the contest had stretched into the morning hour when Bregman, the Astros’ third baseman, stepped to the plate with two runners on, two outs and the score tied 12-12.
The two-out rally had started when Jansen hit catcher Brian McCann with a pitch, and outfielder George Springer followed by drawing a walk.
“Because of his unflappable self-confidence, Alex is fearless on the baseball field,” Mainieri said. “I knew in his mind while he was in that on-deck circle, he was hoping Springer would get on base so he would have the opportunity to be the hero. He is not afraid of those situations, he embraces them. Only special players think that way.”
Bregman lined Jansen’s first pitch into left-center field to score pinch runner Derek Fisher from second base and ignite a raucous celebration.
Mainieri said that Bregman, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft who was called up to the big leagues in July 2016, is duplicating the impact with the Astros that he made at LSU.
“I am not surprised at all with Alex’s lightning-quick ascent to the big leagues, because he worked so hard and never lost sight of that goal,” Mainieri said. “He is going to be a quality Major League ballplayer for a long, long time. We won 157 games, were an NCAA National Seed three times, and made two trips to Omaha (for the College World Series) in Alex’s three years at LSU. He was a big reason why we enjoyed that success during his time here.”