BATON ROUGE, La. - No. 7 LSU (13-1) scored four runs in the eighth inning, and closer Matty Ott held off a ninth-inning rally from No. 6 Cal State Fullerton (8-4) to lead the Tigers past the Titans, 7-6, and post his school-record 30th career save Friday night in Alex Box Stadium.
Game 2 of the series will begin Saturday at 2 p.m. CST. Live video, audio and stats of the contest may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live. It can also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
After allowing two runs off three hits in the ninth, Ott induced a groundout from the Titans' Tyler Pill with the tying run at second to preserve the win and notch the record-setting save, breaking former LSU All-American Rick Greene's 19-year old mark.
Third baseman Tyler Hanover led the Tigers at the plate, batting 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Right fielder Mason Katz drove in two runs, and junior Grant Dozar delivered a clutch, two-run single in the eighth.
Right-hander Jimmy Dykstra (2-0) earned the victory after providing the Tigers with a perfect eighth inning in relief. Freshman starter Kurt McCune also enjoyed another fine outing, firing six innings and allowing only one unearned run on three hits and striking out four.
"It was a great team win in a game that had a little bit of everything," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "I'm so proud of our team for coming back against an excellent team like Cal State Fullerton that has a tremendous pitching staff. The ideal scenario is for a young team to gain experience and win at the same time, and that happened for us tonight."
LSU manufactured a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. With two men on, Hanover drove in a run on an RBI single. Katz followed two batters later with a sacrifice fly to allow designated hitter Raph Rhymes to tag up from third.
Katz delivered his second RBI of the game in the third on a well-executed bunt single to score Hanover and put the Tigers up, 3-0.
Cal State Fullerton pushed a run across in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit to 3-1 when designated hitter Carlos Lopez drove in first baseman Nick Ramirez on an RBI groundout to second.
The Titans added three runs in the seventh to take over the lead, 4-3. Pinch-hitter Michael Lorenzen, shortstop Richy Pedroza and Lopez each provided RBI base hits in the frame.
After struggling through the middle innings, the Tiger bats came alive in the bottom of the eighth with four runs to go back on top, 7-4.
Following a pair of singles and an intentional walk to center fielder Mikie Mahtook, Nola singled in a run through the right side. Katz reached first in the next at-bat after catcher's interference was called, bringing home another run, and Dozar followed with a two-run single to shallow left.
Cal State Fullerton rallied with a pair of runs off Ott in the ninth to bring the Titans to within a run, but the junior shut down the late-inning push to give the squad its 13th win of the season.
"Matty has delivered so many clutch performances for us during his career," Mainieri said, "and he has certainly earned that record. Let's hope he has a lot of chances this year to add to that mark."
Titans' starter Noe Ramirez (2-2) was charged with the loss after giving up six runs (four earned) on six hits in seven innings.
LSU 7, Cal State Fullerton 6 (Mar 11, 2011 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Cal State Fullerton 000 001 302 - 6 11 3 (8-4)
LSU...................... 201 000 04X - 7 8 3 (13-1)
Pitchers: Cal State Fullerton - Ramirez, Noe; Floro, Dylan(8) and Deacon, Jared.
LSU - Kurt McCune; Chris Cotton(7); Kevin Berry(7); Jimmy Dykstra(8); Matty Ott(9) and Ty Ross; Jordy Snikeris.
Win-Jimmy Dykstra(2-0) Save-Matty Ott(3) Loss-Ramirez, Noe(2-2) T-2:53 A-11738
Actual attendance: 9,516
Noe Ramirez faced 3 batters in the 8th.