Six-Run Second Sparks Baseball to Past Princeton
BATON ROUGE -- A six-run second inning from the LSU bats and another fine start from right-hander Kurt McCune lifted the seventh-ranked Tigers (10-0) to an 8-2 victory over Princeton (0-1) in Game 1 of the series Friday night in Alex Box Stadium.
Due to potential severe weather, first pitch for Game 2 of the series has been moved back to 7 p.m. CST Saturday night.
Live video, audio and stats of the game may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/HDbaseball. The contest can be also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
McCune (3-0) remained perfect on the season as the freshman from Norco, La., surrendered only two earned runs on three hits and three walks in 6.1 innings.
Center fielder Mikie Mahtook blasted his team-leading sixth home run of the season, and designated hitter Raph Rhymes connected on his first career dinger at the Division I level, while left fielder Trey Watkins delivered two hits, including a three-run double.
The Tigers erupted for six runs in the bottom of the second to take a 6-0 lead. Following an RBI single by right fielder Mason Katz and back-to-back base hits from first baseman Alex Edward and catcher Ty Ross, Watkins cleared the bases with a three-run double to left. Rhymes came up in the next at-bat and launched a two-run shot over the left field wall.
"Trey Watkins' double was a huge hit for us, because it appeared Princeton might get out of the inning after just allowing one run" said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Trey is such a tough kid and a great leadoff hitter, and he demonstrated that tonight."
Princeton put two runs on the board in the third to cut the lead to 6-2 after first baseman Mike Ford lined a two-run single to right.
Mahtook drilled a solo shot to left center field to put LSU up, 7-2, in the third.
Meanwhile, the Tiger pitching staff not only kept the Princeton hitters off the scoreboard after the third frame but mostly off the base paths as well.
"I thought Kurt McCune pitched through a few rough spots and gave us another very good outing," Mainieri said. "Our relief pitching was really outstanding, including a dominant showing by Chris Cotton."
Cotton, a sophomore left-hander, continued to impress coming out of the bullpen as he fired 1.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts, including a pair with one out and runners in scoring position in the seventh. The Shreveport native has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances thus far.
The Tigers added a run in the eighth to extend their lead to 8-2. After a single by Mahtook, the junior stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw. Shortstop Austin Nola drove him in during the next at-bat with an RBI single.
Princeton starter Matt Bowman (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up seven runs (only one earned) on six hits in three innings.
LSU 8, Princeton 2 (Mar 04, 2011 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Princeton........... 002 000 000 - 2 3 3 (0-1)
LSU................... 061 000 01X - 8 9 2 (10-0)
Pitchers: Princeton - Bowman, Matt; Palms, David(4); Grabowski, Matt(7) and Mulroy, Sam.
LSU - Kurt McCune; Chris Cotton(7); Kevin Berry(9); Samuel Peterson(9) and Ty Ross.
Win-Kurt McCune(3-0) Loss-Bowman, Matt(0-1) T-2:11 A-9831
HR LSU - Raph Rhymes (1); Mikie Mahtook (6).
Actual Attendance: 4,234
7 minute rain delay in the bottom of the 3rd inning