Pitchers Pace Tigers Past Southern, 6-1

LSU's Ryan Verdugo won his debut as a Tiger.
LSU's Ryan Verdugo won his debut as a Tiger.
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BATON ROUGE -- Led by junior college transfer Ryan Verdugo, the LSU Tigers (3-1) defeated cross-town rival Southern (0-1), 6-1, Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium.

Verdugo, who last pitched at Skagit College in Mt. Vernon, Wash., got his first start in Purple and Gold, throwing heat on an otherwise chilly evening. In five innings, he gave up one hit and struck out nine.

“Ryan (Verdugo) went out there and took command of the game early,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “He threw a lot of strikes and he had good stuff. He had nine strikeouts in five innings. He set the tone for us.”

The Tigers were successful at the plate as well. In the first inning second baseman Ryan Schimpf lead off with a double followed by a walk by center fielder Jared Mitchell. Both advanced on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Blake Dean. Schimpf scored on a wild pitch on the next throw, putting the Tigers in the lead, 1-0.

LSU wasn’t finished, however. First baseman Matt Clark walked and catcher Sean Ochinko nailed a shot to right field, driving in Mitchell for the second run of the inning. Right fielder Leon Landry hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Clark for the third and final run of the inning.

After Verdugo retired the side for the second straight inning, the Tigers continued their offensive barrage, with shortstop DJ LeMahieu and third baseman Michael Hollander opening the second inning with back-to-back singles. That was enough for Southern coach Roger Cador, who pulled starter Jarrett Maloy after only one full inning.

The pitching change did not faze Schimpf, LSU’s leading hitter thus far this season. The sophomore from Covington, La. reached base on a bunt, and a throwing error on the same play by Southern brought home the two Tiger base runners, giving LSU a 5-0 lead after only two innings.

“I thought we did some really good things offensively early in the game,” added Mainieri. “We did those things against some pretty decent pitching.”

Verdugo found himself in trouble in the third when he gave up a single to left fielder Victor Franklin. He then balked twice to advance Franklin to third with no outs. Fortunately, Verdugo found his composure and struck out three, leaving Franklin stranded.

In the fifth with two outs, the Jaguars threatened to score, but a spectacular diving catch by Landry in right field ended the inning.

LeMahieu beat out an infield single in the sixth and subsequently stole second base. He scored on a double by Hollander for the Tigers sixth run.

Right-handers Jordan Nicholson, Ben Alsup and Nolan Cain pitched in relief for the Tigers. Nicholson and Cain each struck out one.

Schimpf, LeMahieu and Hollander led the Tigers with two hits a piece.

The Tigers will take the field again Wednesday night against Mississippi Valley State, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast in Baton Rogue on WTGE 107.3. In addition, live audio and video will be available to members of the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

LSU 6, Southern 1 (Feb 26, 2008 at Baton Rouge, La.)


Southern........... 000 000 010  - 1  3  1      (0-1)
LSU................. 320 001 00X  -  6  8  0      (3-1)


Pitchers: Southern - Jarrett Maloy; RICHARD,C.(2); MONAGHAN,S.(7). LSU - Ryan Verdugo;
Jordan Nicholson(6); Ben Alsup(8); Nolan Cain(9).
Win-Ryan Verdugo(1-0)  Loss-Jarrett Maloy(0-1)  T-2:38  A-7151
Weather: 55 degrees; fair and breezy
Actual attendance: 1,606
MALOY,J. faced 2 batters in the 2nd.



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