May 26, 2010

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CBI Live: SEC Game 1: #7 Alabama 7, #2 Auburn 1

CBI Live: SEC Game 2: #6 Ole Miss 3, #3 South Carolina 0


CBI Live
Ranaudo, Tigers Upend Gators

By Jimmy Jones

Special to

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


HOOVER, Ala. – It is just paying to be a higher seed in the SEC tournament today. This time, it was the eighth-seeded LSU Tigers, the reigning national champion, who dispatched SEC champion Florida by a 10-6 count in the third game on Opening Day at Regions Park.


The Tigers (37-20) got just what they have been looking for all season out of starter Anthony Ranaudo (4-2) (left) as he pitched a season high 7.2 innings and scattered seven hit against the Gators, who entered the tournament as the winners of 9 of 10 SEC series (including a school-record run of eight straight to end the regular season).


Ranaudo silenced the potent Florida bats for the most part, allowing just three runs to avenge being swept by the Gators (40-14) earlier this year in Gainesville.


The Tigers were more than generous in their response to the junior right-hander's effort, putting up a five spot in the second inning to take the lead.


Matt Gaudet started the inning with a solo shot to right field, his team-leading 19th of the year to erase the zeroes from the scoreboard. Leon Landry followed with a walk, and Alex Edward moved him over to second with a solid base hit to left. The duo then pulled off a double steal to place runners at second and third before Mason Katz picked up his third and fourth RBI of the season with a base hit to up the advantage to 3-0. LSU second baseman Tyler Hanover capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single to make it 5-0.


Matt den Dekker hit a solo shot, his 12th of the season, to lead off the eighth and Austin Maddox added a base hit, but Ranaudo got Brian Johnson on a fly ball to left.  Daniel Pigott drew a walk, ending Ranaudo’s night.


Reliever Paul Bertuccini took over, and Josh Adams greeted him with a ground ball that appeared to be headed to left field but was picked by shortstop Austin Nola, who couldn't maintain possession, allowing Pigott to score from second to cut the lead to 9-5. Johnson cut the advantage to 9-6 with a run-scoring single to right, and suddenly things were starting to get very interesting for the near-capacity crowd.


Bertuccini ended the drama by striking out Florida catcher Ben McMahan to strand the runners amid a wild clamor from the Tigers’ faithful.


LSU tacked on a run in the ninth on an RBI single by Mahtook to end the scoring as Bertuccini held the Gators scoreless despite a double by Preston Tucker to end the game.


SEC Freshman of the Year Austin Maddox led the Gators with three hits in four trips to the plate. Den Dekker added two hits and was joined by Tyler Thompson with a pair of safeties as well.


The Tigers pounded out 19 hits with Blake Dean and Nola accounting for six. Mahtook, Hanover, Gibbs and Alex Edward contributed two hits apiece as the top six hitters in the lineup accounted for 14 hits and six runs.


Johnson (5-4) (right) picked up the loss for Florida in just 3.2 innings of work. He allowed seven earned runs on nine hits while walking three batters.


Florida will play either Vanderbilt or Arkansas on Thursday; LSU will face the winner of that game.