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LSU rides seven-run seventh to
By Robert Stewart
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
BATON ROUGE, La. – A pitchers’ duel quickly
turned into a rout for LSU in the first game of the Baton Rouge
regional Friday afternoon.
sophomore right-hander Austin Ross (left) and Southern junior
left-hander Chase Richard had nearly identical performances,
each going 6.2 innings and allowing seven hits.
But Southern’s chances faded after Richard was
pulled. LSU scored seven runs in the seventh inning – all with
two outs – in a 10-2 victory that was closer than the score
“For six and a third innings, we played solid
baseball,” Southern coach Roger Cador said. “We had a multitude
of opportunities to really score some runs… it goes back to part
of our trademark we’ve had during the course of the year, just
having a problem hitting guys in from third with less than two
LSU tied the game at two when freshman shortstop
Austin Nola singled to right-center field, scoring senior
pinch-runner Chris McGhee from second.
The Tigers took the lead on back-to-back hits by
second baseman DJ LeMahieu and left fielder/first baseman Ryan
Schimpf. LeMahieu hit a single up the middle to score Nola and
advanced to third on an error by Southern center fielder
Toddrick Stevenson, and Schimpf then drove him in with a single.
“All hell broke loose at that point,” Cador said.
LSU catcher Micah Gibbs’ grounder was booted by
first baseman Frazier Hall, allowing two more runs to score.
After center fielder Mikie Mahtook was hit by a
pitch, senior outfielder Derek Helenihi racked up two RBI on a
double but was thrown trying to reach third base.
Southern’s relief pitchers
took most of the blow from the LSU offense, giving up seven runs
on seven hits in 1.1 innings. Sophomore right-hander Kyle Wahl
gave up five of those runs on four hits in one-third of an
Cador said Wahl told him
after his outing he hurt his foot warming up in the bullpen but
wasn’t told how it happened.
“I don’t want to know in the heat of the battle
how he hurt it,” Cador said. “He should have told me before he
went out there that he was hurt.”
The Tigers had more bad luck than the Jaguars
early in the game. Ross gave up a single on his first pitch of
the game. The third pitch of the game went sailing over the
right-field fence when junior designated hitter Victor Franklin
belted a two-run home run for a 2-0 lead.
But Ross settled in after that, tying a
career-high with 10 strikeouts and allowing one walk in a
no-decision effort. He received a standing ovation from the
mostly purple and gold crowd after a three-pitch sixth inning.
“That was great, but we didn’t give the crowd
much to get fired up about,” Tigers coach Paul Mainieri said.
“That was a good inning for us, and we had just reached a point
in the game when I said, ‘Let’s go boys with a little sense of
urgency now. It’s time for us to make something happen.’”
Richard’s stat line was similar to Ross – he also
gave up seven hits and one walk in his 6.2 innings. But unlike
Ross, Richard didn’t record any strikeouts.
Richard was charged with the loss, leaving the
game tied but with the go-ahead run on the base paths.
“It took a little pressure off when Victor
[Franklin] hit the two-run home run,” Richard said. “I was able
to go out there and try to mix it up and keep them off balance.”
The two teams combined for only nine hits in the
second through sixth innings.
struggled after Franklin’s homer with only five hits after the
shot. LSU had six hits in the seventh inning alone.
Franklin didn’t fare so well after his home run,
striking out in his next three at-bats.
“[The home run] was a great momentum starter. It
was a great feeling, but at the end of the day it was irrelevant
because I struck out twice with runners in scoring position,”
Franklin said. “For us to win the game, when a guy is on second,
we have to drive them in and I have to drive them in.”
LSU got its first runner in scoring position in
the sixth inning when Schimpf hit a double to right. Schimpf
scored when he stole third and Southern catcher Michael Thomas’s
throw went into left field.
“I was trying to get something going for the team
and try to get on base somehow to get something started,”
Schimpf said. “I got a good jump and was fortunate enough to
have a ball go to the outfield.”
LSU picked up two more runs in the eighth inning.
Hanover hit a leadoff triple in the eighth inning and was
brought home on a single by Mitchell, who advanced to third on
an error by Stevenson.
Junior right-handed reliever Paul Bertuccini
picked up the win for LSU, going 1.1 innings with two
Attendance for the game was 9,874 paid, 8,641
actual…the game lasted 2 hours, 42 minutes…LSU will play the
winner of the Baylor-Minnesota game tomorrow at 6 p.m., Southern
plays the loser at 1 p.m…Sophomore RHP Anthony Ranaudo will
start for LSU tomorrow…Southern has elected to go with freshman
RHP Jeremy Morrison.
(photo by Jimmy Jones)