May 22, 2009


CBI Live
Vintage LSU


By Vince Ferrara

Special to

In Game 10 of the SEC Baseball Tournament at Regions Park, the No. 1-seed LSU Tigers (43-16) eliminated the No. 5-seed South Carolina Gamecocks (38-21) with a 4-1 win Friday night. South Carolina (1-2) is the fourth team eliminated from the tournament, joining Ole Miss (0-2), Alabama (0-2) and Florida (1-2). South Carolina now prepares for a possible regional host spot. Regional sites will be announced Sunday at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT. The NCAA Tournament bracket selection show will air Monday at 11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN.

It was vintage LSU on display in the win over South Carolina. It started once again with dominant starting pitching from Louis Coleman (left) (8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 104 P). Coleman (11-2) talked about being called the go-to guy by LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri.


"It gives me a lot of confidence just knowing that everybody on the team, Coach included, has a lot of confidence in me which translates into confidence, said Coleman. "As long as I know they have belief in me, I have belief in myself."

Vintage LSU finished with a dominant closer in true freshman Matty Ott (left). With LSU up 4-1, Ott worked a perfect ninth with two runners on base and the tying run at the plate to record his 14th save of the year. Ott struck out two in facing the heart of Gamecocks order, including their best hitter, Nick Ebert.

Coleman said the chemistry on this year's team is comparable to last year's College World Series team. "Definitely, just because we only lost five guys and so it's basically all the same guys plus a few more freshmen so it makes it a lot easier, chemistry-wise. Everybody knows everybody pretty good and the freshmen are coming along a little bit."

Timely hitting was on display as vintage LSU as well. LSU scored two in the sixth inning to take a 2-0 lead. The Tigers would add two insurance runs in the eighth to go up 4-0. Another freshman led the offense for LSU as Mikie Mahtook went 3 for 4 with an RBI. South Carolina's lone run came on a solo home run by Brady Thomas. That was Thomas' first career home run and RBI. South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher (4-4) only gave up two runs in six strong innings of work but took the loss.

"We'll start (Daniel) Bradshaw tomorrow," Mainieri (right) said. "I'm as excited about that as anything because Daniel Bradshaw needs an opportunity and he's going to get it tomorrow. If he wants to be a key guy in our program that we can count on, he can prove that tomorrow. He's got the ability to do it and I think he has the confidence to do it. If we're fortunate enough to have a second game, at that point, we'll see whose left."

LSU (2-1) will next play at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday versus Georgia (2-0.)  If Georgia wins it will play in the SEC Championship Game, Sunday at 3 p.m. CT. If LSU beats Georgia, those two would play again on Saturday at either 5 or 8 p.m. CT, in an elimination game.

For the first time since 2004, three of the four lowest seeds have advanced to the weekend's final four in the SEC Tournament. In '04 the weekend teams were Arkansas (1), Florida (6), Vanderbilt (7) and the eventual champion South Carolina (5). This year, the final four teams are Vanderbilt (8), Arkansas (7), Georgia (6) and the regular-season co-champions LSU (1).


(photos courtesy of LSU Media Relations Office)