Mainieri Finding 'Answers'; Baseball Powers by MSU, 12-1

Blake Dean hit a towering homer to right field.
Blake Dean hit a towering homer to right field. (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- The LSU baseball team defeated Michigan State 12-1 on Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium, sweeping the two-game series.

The win was the Tigers’ seventh straight. LSU (9-1) has outscored its opponents 76-20 during the win streak. The Tigers collected 14 hits Wednesday, and 14 different batters reached base.

The loss dropped Michigan State to 3-6 on the season.

First baseman Matt Clark continued to swing the bat with power, hitting a grand slam in the seventh inning for his sixth home run on the season. The grand slam was the first by an LSU player since Blake Gill belted a grand slam against Arizona State on March 13, 2005.

Last season’s LSU home run leader, leftfielder Blake Dean, launched his fourth homer of the season Wednesday.

“In all honesty, I’m happy that we have had some success so far,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “Some answers are coming to me now. By the time we play Tennessee (next weekend), we will have figured out the best combination of players.”

Despite the offensive barrage put on by the Tigers, Michigan State got on the board first when Chris Roberts, who reached on an error, scored on an RBI double by Brandon Doherty in the second inning.

However, the Spartans lead didn’t last long. After Rene Escobar, who made his LSU debut, walked for the second time on the day in the third, Dean belted a two-run shot to put the Tigers up, 2-1.

Following Dean’s dinger, Matt Clark walked and Sean Ochinko singled into left field. Jared Mitchell knocked Clark home with a single for the third and final run of the inning.

The Spartans pulled their starting pitcher, A.J. Achter, after the third inning. He walked six batters.

The next MSU pitcher, Tyler Newsome, allowed a run in the fourth inning. Taylor Davis, pinch-hitting for Leon Landry, blooped a single into right field before Ryan Schimpf walked. Johnny Dishon, pinch-running for Davis, scored on a single by Escobar.

LSU’s Ryan Byrd (1-0), who got his second start of the season, kept the Spartans in check after their second inning score. He pitched five innings, giving up only four hits.

“I thought Ryan was really on top of his game,” added Mainieri. “I was so ecstatic with the way he threw today.”

Clark, who dazzled fans with his five-homer performance last weekend versus Duquesne, showed he could play defense too, making a diving stop of a grounder down the right field line and then flipping the ball to Byrd for the final out of the fifth.

The Tigers struck again in the seventh inning when Escobar was hit by a Scott Heitshusen pitch with the bases loaded. Heitshusen then walked another run in, throwing four straight balls to Dean. Heitshusen was pulled in favor of Seth Williams, who was making his collegiate debut.

Unfortunately for Williams, the first batter he faced was Clark. The second pitch thrown to him was drilled over the right field wall for the grand slam, putting the Tigers up 10-1.

Chad Jones led off the eighth with a double off the top of the left field wall, and was brought home on a triple by Derek Helenihi. Nicholas Pontiff knocked Helenihi in for the 12th run of the game.

Jordan Brown, Nolan Cain, Jordan Nicholson, Jared Bradford and Paul Bertuccini combined to pitch the final four innings for the Tigers, surrendering only one hit.

Clark and Sean Ochinko led the Tigers with two hits a piece.

The Tigers will take the field again Friday night against Stetson (5-4), with the first pitch being thrown at 7 p.m. The Hatters defeated Central Michigan, 13-3, in the first game of a double-header Wednesday afternoon.

Friday’s game will be broadcast on WDGL 98.1. FM. Live audio and video will be available to members of the Geaux Zone at

LSU 12, Michigan State 1 (Mar 05, 2008 at Baton Rouge, La.)


Michigan State...... 010 000 000  -  1  5   1      (3-6)
LSU....................... 003 100 62X  - 12 14  1     (9-1)


Pitchers: Michigan State - Achter, A.J.; Newsome, Tyler(4); Heitshusen, Scott(7);
Williams, Seth(7); Clausen, Tony(8).   LSU - Ryan Byrd; Jordan Brown(6); Nolan Cain(7);
Jordan Nicholson(8); Jared Bradford(9); Paul Bertuccini(9).
Win-Ryan Byrd(1-0)  Loss-Achter, A.J.(0-1)  T-3:08  A-7103
HR LSU - Blake Dean (4); Matt Clark (6).
Weather: 67 degrees and clear
Actual attendance: 1,955



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