BATON ROUGE -- LSU centerfielder Leon Landry blasted two homers Saturday, and the top-ranked Tigers collected 15 hits to defeat Villanova 11-1 in the second game of the opening series in the new Alex Box Stadium.
With the victory, LSU (2-0) captured its fifth straight regular-season weekend series dating back to last season. The Tigers have won 18 straight regular-season games over the past two years. Villanova fell to 0-2 with Saturday’s loss.
Both of Landry’s home runs came off Nova left-hander Kevin Crimmel, who entered the game in relief in the fourth inning. The first homer was a solo shot in the fourth, and the second was a two-run blast in the sixth inning. It was Landry’s first multiple home run game of his career.
“There’s some speculation about lefties hitting lefties,” Landry, who finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored, said. “But once you get in the box the ball is coming in the same direction. I just put a good swing on it and fortunately for me two balls got out of here.”
The Tigers got the scoring started in the second inning when first baseman Sean Ochinko singled in Jared Mitchell from second on a hit-and-run to put LSU up 1-0. Later in the inning, second baseman Ryan Schimpf, who finished 3-for-3 with two RBI, singled up the middle to bring home Ochinko and Landry, who stole second on the pitch before, to put the Tigers up 3-0.
Scoring continued for LSU when Blake Dean doubled to lead off the LSU third inning before catcher Micah Gibbs tripled off the wall in deep center field to score Dean putting the Tigers up 4-0. LSU got on the board again one batter later when shortstop D.J. LeMahieu singled hard over Villanova second baseman Dain Hall driving home Gibbs to make the score 5-0 in favor of LSU.
All five of the Tiger runs came off Nova starter Brian Streilein (0-1), who was charged with the loss after he left the game after giving up five earned runs on seven hits with three walks and only one strikeout.
Meanwhile, sophomore right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (1-0) showed a lot of poise in only his second career collegiate start for LSU, getting out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam with two strikeouts in the top of the second inning. He finished allowing only one run on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings of work.
“Anthony is going to settle in and do even better the next time out because he’s got the experience of being out there,” head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He made some key pitches at some key times and got some big outs when we needed them so I think there’s a lot of room for improvement, but he’s on his way.”
Ranuado’s only other start was May 17 last season against Auburn.
The Wildcats got on the board in the fourth inning when first baseman Kyle Carver hit a solo homerun off Ranaudo to cut the LSU lead to 5-1.
LSU freshmen Tyler Hanover and Beau Didier had strong offensive contributions in the LSU eighth inning. Hanover launched a triple to right-center field scoring Austin Nola to make the score 9-1. The next batter was Didier, who blasted a two-run home run over the right-field wall in his first collegiate at-bat to put LSU up 11-1. The last time an LSU freshman homered in his first collegiate at-bat was in 2007 when Blake Dean did it in the season-opening 4-3 victory against St. Mary’s.
Another freshman having a strong collegiate debut was right-hander Matty Ott came on in relief in the sixth inning and had a brilliant frame, allowing no hits, no walks and striking out two.
Sophomore right-hander Daniel Bradshaw got the save for the Tigers allowing only one hit and striking out five in three innings of work.
“Today was more relaxed,” Mainieri said. “The kids could go out there and just let their abilities take over. I thought we improved a lot from yesterday to today and if we can keep doing that we have chance to have a very special team.”
LSU will go for the series sweep Sunday at noon CT. The LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 in Baton Rouge) will broadcast the series finale and live audio and video can be found on the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net.
Sophomore right-hander Austin Ross is scheduled to start on the mound for LSU while Villanova will counter with freshman left-hander Kyle Helsiek.
LSU 11, Villanova 1 (Feb 21, 2009 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Villanova........... 000 100 000 - 1 4 1 (0-2)
LSU................... 032 102 03X - 11 15 1 (2-0)
Pitchers: Villanova - Brian Streilein; Kevin Crimmel(4); Will Hebard(8).
LSU - Anthony Ranaudo; Matty Ott(6); Daniel Bradshaw(7).
Win-Anthony Ranaudo(1-0) Save-Daniel Bradshaw(1) Loss-Brian Streilein(0-1) T-2:40 A-8910
HR VU - Kyle Carver (1).
HR LSU - Leon Landry 2 (2); Beau Didier (1).
Actual Attendance: 6,214