BATON ROUGE -- Jordan Brown pitched six innings of shutout ball to help the Tigers defeat Indiana, 5-4 on Saturday afternoon.
A sunny and fair afternoon attracted a paid crowd of 8,406 out to Alex Box Stadium for Game 2 of the season-opening series.
Brown, a junior college transfer, started on the mound for the Tigers (2-0). He struck out three in addition to getting the win.
“I thought Jordan did a really good job,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “Jordan pitched in the clutch when he had runners on first and third. I thought he did a great job with that.”
Brown got some help in the field from senior third baseman Michael Hollander, who used his strong arm to make some tough throws to first. Mainieri also praised the defensive efforts of freshman shortstop D.J. LeMahieu.
“They actually hit some balls off of Jordan early in the game, and I thought LeMahieu made some outstanding plays in the field,” added Mainieri.
Sophomore catcher Sean Ochinko got the first hit for the Tigers in the second inning, but was picked off at first by Indiana’s catcher. Indiana left-hander Matt Bashore, the losing pitcher, held the Tigers to one hit through the first two innings of play.
In the third, junior outfielder Nicholas Pontiff put himself in scoring position with a line drive to right-center. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Ochinko got on base again in the fourth on a single and then moved to second on an error on a Matt Clark line drive. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Ochinko scored when designated hitter Matt Gaudet grounded out to the pitcher, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Clark was stranded on base to end the inning.
Brown found himself in some trouble with one out in the top of the fifth when Indiana’s Brad Henke singled, followed by a double to centerfield by Tyler Rogers. Junior second baseman Ryan Schimpf scared Henke into staying at third on a deep infield pop-up, and Andrew Means grounded out to end the threat.
Pontiff walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth for LSU. Hollander followed with a smash to second that was misplayed. Schimpf, yesterday’s hero, walked to load the bases for sophomore outfielder Jared Mitchell, who struck out for the third time on the day for the first out of the inning.
Sophomore outfielder Blake Dean singled to right field, scoring Pontiff for a 3-0 lead. Ochinko flied out to centerfield for the second out. Clark worked a full count before grounding out to second, stranding three runners.
Left-hander Blake Martin came on in relief of Brown in the seventh. Martin, a junior from Boaz, Ala., hasn’t pitched since 2006 after medically redshirting last season due to hip surgery. He shook off some rust early, but went on to pitch 1.2 innings with one strikeout.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mitchell reached first on four straight pitches and advanced to second on a balk. He scored on an error after Indiana’s shortstop bobbled a grounder by Dean. Dean then scored from first on a double by Ochinko to put the Tigers up 5-0.
Junior right-hander Nolan Cain came in for Martin in the eighth with the bases loaded and two outs. Cain walked the first two batters he faced, bringing home Indiana’s first two runs. Then, Rogers smoked a double to left-center, bringing home two more runs to make the score 5-4. Sophomore right-hander Paul Bertuccini came in to stop the rally and end the inning.
Freshman right-hander Daniel Bradshaw made his collegiate debut in the ninth, getting the save for the Tigers.
Pontiff led the Tigers at the plate, going 2-3 with a walk and two runs. Ochinko went 3-4 with one run and one RBI.
Indiana falls to 0-2 on the season with the loss.
Game 3, the final of the series, is Sunday at 11 a.m. Sunday’s contest will be broadcast on WDGL 98.1 FM. In addition to this, live audio and video will be available to members of the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.