May 21, 2009


CBI Live
Tide two and out


By Vince Ferrara

Special to


HOOVER, Ala. - In Game 6 of the SEC Baseball Tournament at Regions Park, the No. 1-seed LSU Tigers (42-16) stayed alive with a 9-6 win over the No. 4-seed Alabama (37-19). The biggest fan draw of the tournament (Alabama) is the second team eliminated (Ole Miss.)  Regional sites will be announced Sunday at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT and the NCAA Tournament bracket selection show will be Monday at 11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN.

Ryan Schimpf (right) went 3 for 4 and Derek Helenihi had a pinch-hit three-run home run in the seventh inning as LSU held off Alabama. The Tigers also received another excellent start by 6-feet 7-inch right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (pictured below) (7.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 114 P). LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri knew his team would bounce back from the Day 1 loss. 


"We've only lost two games in a row one time the whole year," Mainieri said. "You know, we had a little team meeting and went over a few things but it's all a matter of the kids. They hold each other accountable."

Alabama did not get the usual strong start from Number 1 starter Austin Hyatt (3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 K, 77 P). The defense didn't help, as Alabama committed three costly errors that led to three runs, which happened to be the difference in the score. The Crimson Tide had a runner picked off second to end an inning and a sacrifice bunt that was popped up for an out. Give LSU credit though. They took advantage of Alabama's mistakes with some clutch hits.

The SEC Player of the Year, Alabama's Kent Matthes (2 for 4, RBI) summarized another frustrating day for the Crimson Tide. 


"Ranaudo did a great job today,” Matthes (right) said. “You got to tip your hat to him. He kept us off balance at the plate and he was locating his fastball. We had a lot of base runners. We had a lot of opportunities to score more runs today, we just didn't get them in. For us, six runs probably isn't a good day for us. We didn't help ourselves out, not playing good defense behind Hyatt. We could have easily won that game."

Injury updates for Alabama: According to Jim Wells, third baseman Jake Smith tore ligaments on both sides of his ankle on the final play of Wednesday night, actually Thursday morning's loss to South Carolina. His leg is not broken. He'll be in that cast for three to six weeks. Surgery is not needed at this time. He'll then begin rehab and should be fine. Also, centerfielder Alex Kubal missed today's game with a strained hamstring. He's about 75 percent and should be fine.

Wells was asked if he felt like his team has a case to host a regional, he said "No. No. I do not." On the road they go. You have to love the honesty.

LSU will next play Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT versus the loser of tonight's Vanderbilt/South Carolina game.

(photo by Jimmy Jones)