BATON ROUGE, La. - A four-run fifth inning along with three shutout innings by the Kansas bullpen lifted the Jayhawks to an 8-4 victory over No.1 LSU to clinch the weekend series Sunday afternoon in Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (13-2) dropped their first regular-season series since losing two of three games against Tennessee in 2009, breaking a seven-series win streak dating back to last season. Kansas improved to 11-4 with the victory.
LSU will be back in action Wednesday night when the Tigers play host to Nicholls State in a mid-week contest slated for 6:30 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium.
"I'm not upset with the way our team played," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We played hard, we pitched well at times and we played good defense. Kansas just made more plays than we did. They have an excellent club that would compete very favorably in the SEC."
LSU starter Jordan Rittiner (2-1) was charged with the loss Sunday after throwing five innings and allowing five earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Kansas starter Cameron Selik (4-0) earned the win after throwing six innings and allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts.
The Tigers were led offensively by right fielder Mikie Mahtook, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBI, and designated hitter Leon Landry, who was also 2-for-4 with a run scored. Blake Dean was the Tigers' leading hitter over the weekend, as he hit .600 (6-for-10) with two homers and five RBI.
The Jayhawks got out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning Sunday when designated hitter Chris Manship roped a two-out RBI single to center field.
LSU responded in the bottom of the frame when Mahtook laced a single up the middle, scoring Trey Watkins and Dean to give the Tigers a 2-1 advantage after one inning. The Tigers extended their lead to 3-1 in the second when Wet Delatte scored from third on a groundout by Watkins.
Kansas pulled within one at 3-2 in the fifth inning when right fielder Casey Lytle ripped an RBI double over Watkins' head in left field. The Jayhawks tied the game, 3-3, on an RBI-sacrifice fly by centerfielder Brian Heere.
Two batters later, Kansas first baseman Brett Lisher ripped a two-run double that Watkins nearly caught in left, plating Lytle and Manship to give the Jayhawks a 5-3 advantage.
The Jayhawks extended their lead to 6-4 in the seventh when Lisher bounced an RBI-single in between shortstop and third. Kansas tacked on two more runs in the eighth, increasing their lead to 8-4.
Jayhawk relievers Travis Blankenship and Brett Bochy combined to hold the Tigers to no runs on two hits in the final three innings. Bochy earned his third save of the season, and second of the weekend, after allowing no hits in the final 1.1 innings.
"I told our team that nothing is going to come easy for us," Mainieri said. "We open SEC play next weekend (vs. Arkansas), and we're going to be tested every week. We'll continue to work hard each day and prepare for the challenges in front of us."
Kansas 8, LSU 4 (Mar 14, 2010 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Kansas.............. 100 040 120 - 8 12 1 (11-4)
LSU................... 210 001 000 - 4 8 1 (13-2)
Pitchers: Kansas - Selik, Cameron; Blankenship, Travis(7); Bochy, Brett(8) and Stanfield, James
LSU - Jordan Rittiner; Daniel Bradshaw(6); Paul Bertuccini(6); Mitch Mormann(8) and
Win-Selik, Cameron(4-0) Save-Bochy, Brett(3) Loss-Jordan Rittiner(2-1) T-2:55 A-11074
Weather: 71 degrees, sunny
Actual Attendance: 7353