The West is Won! Baseball Wins 15th-Straight, 15-6

LSU's Ryan Byrd allowed only two hits in six innings
LSU's Ryan Byrd allowed only two hits in six innings (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

AUBURN, Ala. -- Junior left-hander Ryan Byrd fired six scoreless relief innings Friday night and No. 16 LSU collected 18 hits as the Tigers clinched the 2008 SEC Western Division title with a 15-6 victory over Auburn at Plainsman Park.
LSU (38-16-1, 17-11-1 SEC) has won 15 straight games, including 11 in a row in conference play. The SEC West championship is the Tigers’ first  since 2005.
Auburn dropped to 28-27 overall and 11-18 in league play with Friday’s loss. The teams meet in the regular-season finale at 2 p.m. Saturday in Plainsman Park.
LSU has wrapped up the No. 2 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.  The Tigers will play the opening game of the tournament at 10 a.m. Wednesday against the No. 7 seed, which has yet to be determined.
“I’m so proud of our players for winning a championship with great effort and determination,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We were picked to finish fifth in the West at the beginning of the season, and we got off to a rough start, but our players persevered and have been outstanding over the past month. There is still much left to accomplish, and I’m very excited about what’s ahead for our team.”
LSU’s 15-game win streak is the longest for the Tigers since the 1997 club won 19 in a row at the start of the season. The 11-game SEC win streak is LSU’s longest since the 1991 squad won its first 11 league games.
Byrd (2-1) entered Friday’s game in the bottom of the third inning with LSU trailing 5-2 and handcuffed the Auburn hitters. Byrd allowed just two singles through six innings while recording one walk and five strikeouts.
Eight LSU players contributed RBI in the contest, with three Tigers first baseman Matt Clark, centerfielder Leon Landry and second baseman Ryan Schimpf collecting three hits apiece.
LSU plated single runs in each of the first two innings on catcher Micah Gibbs’ RBI double and first baseman Matt Clark’s solo homer, his 19th of the season.
Auburn, however, held a 5-2 lead through two innings against LSU starter Blake Martin on the strength of two home runs by leftfielder Brian Fletcher a two-run dinger in the first frame and an three-run blast in the second.
LSU struck for four runs in the fourth inning against Auburn starter Taylor Thompson to erase the 5-2 deficit.  The Tigers collected five singles in the inning and took advantage of an Auburn error to take the lead. Leftfielder Jared Mitchell contributed an two-run single and third baseman Michael Hollander lined an RBI single to highlight the uprising.
LSU expanded the lead to 8-5 in the fifth when second baseman Ryan Schimpf slapped a two-run single to score first baseman Matt Clark and shortstop DJ LeMahieu.
The Tigers added three more runs in the seventh as Leon Landry led off with a homer his fourth of the season and rightfielder Derek Helenihi ripped a two-RBI single to center field.
Designated hitter Blake Dean launched a two-run homer his 13th of the season to highlight LSU’s four-run eighth inning.
Thompson (3-6) was charged with the loss as he surrendered six runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings with one walk and four strikeouts.
LSU 15, Auburn 6 (May 16, 2008 at Auburn, Ala.)
LSU.................... 110 420 340  - 15 18  1    (38-16-1, 17-11-1 SEC)
Auburn.............. 230 000 001  -  6  7  5      (28-27, 11-18 SEC)
Pitchers: LSU - Blake Martin; Ryan Byrd(3); Nolan Cain(9).
Auburn - Taylor Thompson; Evan Crawford(4); Sean Ray(8).
Win-Ryan Byrd(2-1)  Loss-Taylor Thompson(3-6)  T-3:09  A-2122
HR LSU - Blake Dean (13); Matt Clark (19); Leon Landry (4).
HR AU - Brian Fletcher 2 (10).




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