June 19, 2009

Game 11 Notes

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Ranaudo, Dean Help Tigers Roll to Championship Series

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

OMAHA, Neb. – The Tigers looked terrific.


Starter Anthony Ranaudo (left) tossed six shutout innings, and Blake Dean hit the first of his team’s four home runs as LSU eliminated Arkansas 14-5 Friday afternoon at the College World Series in front of 19,734 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.


The third-seeded Tigers (54-16) advance to the championship series of the CWS, to meet either top-seeded Texas or fifth-seeded Arizona State in the best two-of-three set. The Razorbacks finish the season with a 41-24 mark.


Ranaudo (11-3) allowed four hits with no walks and five strikeouts.


“I thought Anthony Ranaudo threw as well as he has all year,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “I think you saw the real Anthony Ranaudo out there today. He was absolutely dominant. He had good velocity, great command, he got his curve over, even threw a few change-ups today, they were outstanding. He set the tone for the game.”


Ranaudo only went 3.1 innings in his first CWS start Saturday against Virginia with five hits, two runs, four walks and three strikeouts.  


“I just flushed the last start,” Ranaudo said. “I had a bad outing. I didn’t have good command my last outing. Today I tried to pound the zone early.”


Dean (right) finished 2 for 4 with three runs and two RBI.


“They feed off of Blake Dean,” Mainieri said. “When Blake is locked in like he is, and he has been for a long time, it gives everybody a lot of confidence.”


After a delay of two hours and 30 minutes due to inclement weather, the Tigers got on the board in the top of the first as Dean doubled down the right field line and scored on a base hit up the middle by Micah Gibbs to give LSU a 1-0 lead.


“In the beginning you have to scrap for runs,” Dean said. “Putting a run on the board gives us a big opportunity to get things going, makes our team feel less stressful.” 


LSU chased Arkansas starter Stephen Richards in the third. Austin Nola singled, DJ LeMahieu walked and Ryan Schimpf had a base hit to fill the sacks with no outs. Mike Bolsinger relieved Richards. Dean reached on an error by the first baseman, allowing Nola to score. With one out, Mikie Mahtook had a sacrifice fly to center to score LeMahieu. Schimpf touched home on a wild pitch to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.


“After about the third inning, we were in trouble because Ranaudo was throwing too good, “Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “He threw a lot better today than he threw his first outing here.”


The Tigers used the long ball for three add-on runs. Dean belted his 17th homer with one out in the fifth, Jared Mitchell went deep in the sixth for the 10th time, and Schimpf crushed a home run to deep right in the seventh, his 21st, to make it 7-0. LSU sends 10 to the plate in the five-run seventh as the lead ballooned to 11-0.


“LSU was just too strong today,” Van Horn said. “We just didn’t have enough to hold them down.”


Brett Eibner belted a two-run homer in the seventh for the Razorbacks, his 12th, to make it 11-2. Tyler Hanover had a two-run dinger in the ninth for the Tigers, his fifth, to push the lead to 13-2. Chase Leavitt launched a three-run homer in the ninth for Arkansas to complete the scoring.


Schimpf finished with three hits and two runs for the Tigers. Leavitt had three hits for the Razorbacks.


(photos by Jimmy Jones)