Mahtook, Ott Clutch in Baseball Win, 4-3
BATON ROUGE - Freshman second baseman JaCoby Jones went 3-for-3 with a home run to pace the LSU offense and junior reliever Matty Ott shut down a ninth-inning Wake Forest rally as the No. 15 LSU baseball team surged past the Demon Deacons 4-3 in Game 2 of the series on Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (2-0) look to pick up the series sweep against the Deacons (0-2) on Sunday at Noon in Alex Box Stadium. Freshman right-hander Kurt McCune will start on the mound for LSU, while Wake Forest is expected to counter with sophomore right-hander Justin Van Grouw.
With LSU leading 4-3 in the top of the ninth and nobody out and a runner on first, Ott was called in from the bullpen in relief of freshman Ryan Eades. Ott retired the next three batters in order, including a pair of strikeouts, to earn the 28th save of his career.
With the save, the product of Chalmette, La., is now just one save shy of tying the career mark of 29 held by former Tiger Rick Greene.
"I thought it was good for us to have this type of game; we can't win every game by a lopsided score," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We didn't swing the bats especially well, but Gausman and Eades showed why they were such highly-recruited pitchers. They both threw very hard and had very effective outings.
"I brought Matty into a difficult situation in the ninth, but that sinkerball of his was really working and he finished up the win for us."
Eades (1-0) picked up the win in relief for LSU, allowing just one run on three hits in 2.1 innings of work. Freshman Kevin Gausman started the game for the Tigers, and he didn't disappoint in his debut as he gave up just two runs on six hits to go along with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
Wake Forest lefty Tim Cooney (0-1) was charged with the loss as he gave up three runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings.
Jones is now 5-for-7 with three RBI and three runs scored in his first two games as a Tiger. Junior Mikie Mahtook continued to prove his power, crushing his third home run in two games, and Tyler Hanover went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to help lead the LSU offense.
Wake Forest took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Deacon first baseman Matt Conway, scoring Mark Rhine who singled earlier in the inning. The Deacons extended the lead to 2-0 the next inning on a solo homerun by right-fielder James Harris.
LSU got on the board in the bottom of the second inning as Mason Katz led off the inning with his third double of the series, and advanced to third on a groundout by Alex Edward. Jones then blooped an RBI single that found grass in shallow center between three Deacons, scoring Katz and cut the Wake Forest lead to 2-1.
The Tigers manufactured a run in the bottom of the fifth as Hanover executed a perfect squeeze bunt to the first base side of the pitcher's mound, easily scoring Jones who singled to lead off the inning and tie the game 2-2.
Jones gave LSU the lead in the bottom half of the seventh inning when he sent a full-count pitch soaring into the left field stands underneath the scoreboard to give the Tigers a 3-2 advantage.
LSU picked up an insurance run in the eighth inning when Mahtook drilled the first pitch he saw from Wake Forest reliever Michael Dimock into the bleachers to put the Tigers up 4-2 heading into the ninth.
Mahtook's insurance run proved big as Wake Forest designated hitter Charlie Morgan led off the top of the ninth with a solo homer of his own off Eades to cut the LSU lead down to 4-3. The next Demon batter, Mac Williamson, singled before Ott was brought in to the game.
LSU 4, Wake Forest 3 (Feb 19, 2011 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Wake Forest......... 110 000 001 - 3 9 0 (0-2)
LSU...................... 010 010 11X - 4 10 1 (2-0)
Pitchers: Wake Forest - Tim Cooney; Michael Dimock(7) and Brett Armour.
LSU - Kevin Gausman; Ryan Eades(6); Matty Ott(9) and Jordy Snikeris.
Win-Ryan Eades(1-0) Save-Matty Ott(1) Loss-Tim Cooney(0-1) T-2:35 A-11113
HR WF - Charlie Morgan (1); James Harris (1).
HR LSU - Mikie Mahtook (3); JaCoby Jones (1).
Actual Attendance: 8118
Eades faced 2 batters in the 9th.