Baseball Completes Sweep of Tennessee, 15-5
BATON ROUGE -- LSU erupted for 15 runs off 17 hits, and center fielder Mikie Mahtook launched a three-run homer and tied his career high with four RBI en route to a 15-5 victory and series sweep of Tennessee Sunday at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU (33-19, 11-16 SEC) took control of the game with a six-run sixth inning, highlighted by Mahtook's blast. The Tigers scored 32 runs and collected 50 hits over the weekend while posting their second straight series sweep of the Volunteers (23-27, 5-22 SEC) dating back to last season.
The Tigers return to action Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CDT when they travel to New Orleans to face UNO in their final non-conference regular season game.
Mahtook's dinger was his 13th of the season. The junior also finished 3-for-5 with three runs and stole his 28th base of the season, which ties for sixth on LSU's all-time list for stolen bases in a season.
In addition to Mahtook, first baseman Mason Katz shined at the plate, batting 4-for-6 with four RBI and his team-leading 18th double of the season, while right fielder Alex Edward collected three hits, including a pair of doubles and an RBI.
"I am especially proud of our team for the great effort this weekend," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "It's one thing to say you need a sweep, and it's another to actually go out and do it, but our players did it and got the job done. I feel like we're playing our best baseball of the season right now, and I hope we can extend this season for as long as possible. I feel like our players deserve a shot in the postseason; they've worked extremely hard all season and now we have a chance to reach some significant goals."
The Tigers enjoyed another nice start, scoring three runs off four hits and two errors in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. Designated hitter Raph Rhymes came home on an errant throw following a base hit from Katz, while Mahtook and shortstop Austin Nola each provided RBI singles.
Tennessee cut the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the second when first baseman Davis Morgan notched an RBI on a groundout to second, and right fielder Drew Steckenrider scored from third on a wild pitch.
The Volunteers knotted it up at 3-3 in the third after designated hitter Charley Thurber drove in a run on an RBI single.
LSU retook the lead, 4-3, in the fourth when Edward singled home Nola from second.
The Volunteers struck back in the top of the fifth to claim a 5-4 advantage. With the bases loaded, Thurber came through with a two-run single through the right side. However, Katz drilled a two-run double into the gap in right center, and catcher Grant Dozar drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Tigers back on top, 7-5, in the bottom of the frame.
LSU busted the game open with a six-run sixth to command a 13-5 advantage. Following an RBI single from Katz, Mahtook blasted a three-run dinger to left. Dozar and second baseman JaCoby Jones also delivered an RBI in the frame.
The Tigers added another run in the seventh to go up, 14-5, when Mahtook scored from third on a wild pitch. Katz also plated his fourth RBI of the game on an infield single in the eighth to give LSU a 15-5 lead.
Right-handers Ben Alsup and Daniel Bradshaw, who were recognized prior to the game during the program's Senior Day ceremony, combined for 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Fellow right-handers Jimmy Dykstra and Matty Ott finished off the Volunteers in the final 1.1 innings.
Tennessee's Zack Godley (1-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering two runs (one earned) and a walk in 0.2 innings.