BATON ROUGE -- No. 22 LSU launched four home runs, including two by second baseman Ryan Schimpf, and junior Blake Martin fired seven sensational innings Saturday afternoon as the Tigers overwhelmed Mississippi State, 16-4, in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU (34-16-1, 14-11-1 SEC) has won 11 straight games, including eight in the SEC. The Tigers are in first place in the SEC Western Division and in third place in the overall league standings.
Mississippi State fell to 20-31 and 7-19 in the SEC with the defeat.
The Tigers’ 11-game win streak is the longest for LSU since the 2000 club won 13 in a row to complete its national championship season. LSU’s eight-game SEC win streak is the longest for the Tigers since the 1997 squad also won eight consecutive league games.
The Tigers and Bulldogs will square off in the final regular season game in venerable Alex Box Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge) and carried by the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM). In addition, live video and audio will be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
As the final regular season in “The Box” draws closer to an end, the sizzling Tiger bats continue to provide glimpses of the “Gorilla Ball” era of the 1990s. LSU – which won Game 1 on Friday night, 15-6 -- has recorded 31 runs in the series on an astounding 37 hits, including seven dingers and 14 extra-base hits with one contest remaining in the historic ballpark.
Schimpf led the team’s offensive surge, matching a career-high with four hits and launching two homers, his ninth and 10th of the season. Leon Landry and Blake Dean also connected on long balls, and five Tigers notched at least two hits on the day.
“The kids are playing with a lot of confidence,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We’re on a good streak right now. Hopefully, we can keep it up, but we still have a lot of work to do. We have five more ball games in the regular season, and every game is enormous.
“Tomorrow will be a very emotional day out here, and we have to keep our emotions in check. We need to go out there, play well and get the job done.”
Martin (4-3) hurled seven innings of two-hit ball en route to his fourth victory of the season. The southpaw gave up only two earned runs and fanned eight. Mississippi State’s Ricky Bowen (3-6) was charged with the loss as the right-hander allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits in 3.1 innings pitched.
“I really felt, in my heart, that Blake Martin was going to give us an outstanding outing today,” Mainieri added. “That first run they got in the first inning was a tough break, but after that, he was just outstanding.”
After surrendering an early run to the Bulldogs in the first inning, LSU bounced back in the third, scoring four runs to go up, 4-1. Michael Hollander drove in Landry on a base hit to left field, and Dean blasted a three-run shot over the right field wall.
LSU broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning as the Tigers batted around the lineup and took a 9-1 advantage. With a runner on, Landry hammered a two-run dinger to left-center field. Following consecutive singles from Schimpf and Hollander, Jared Mitchell singled to right, driving in a run.
Bowen threw a wild pitch in the next at-bat, allowing Hollander to cross the plate, and Gibbs capped the frame with an RBI single through the right side.
Schimpf extended the Tigers’ lead to 10-1 with a mammoth, solo home run over the 405 foot mark in center field.
MSU’s Tyler Moore homered to left field in the sixth to cut the deficit to 10-2.
LSU added three more runs in the seventh to take a comfortable 13-2 advantage.
After the Bulldogs gained two runs in the eighth, Schimpf blasted a three-run shot in the bottom of the frame, his second of the day and third in two games.
LSU 16, Mississippi State 4 (May 10, 2008 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Mississippi State... 100 001 020 - 4 5 1 (20-31, 7-19 SEC)
LSU...................... 004 510 33X - 16 16 3 (34-16-1, 14-11-1 SEC)
Pitchers: Mississippi State - Ricky Bowen; Michael Busby(4); Forrest Moore(7). LSU - Blake Martin; Nolan Cain(8); Austin Ross(9).
Win-Blake Martin(4-3) Loss-Ricky Bowen(3-6) T-2:58 A-8312
HR MSTATE - Tyler Moore (13).
HR LSU - Blake Dean (11); Leon Landry (3); Ryan Schimpf 2 (10).
Weather: 88 degrees and cloudy
Actual attendance: 5,867