Furbush Pitches Baseball to Series-Opening Win, 2-1

LSU's Jordan Mayer had an RBI triple
LSU's Jordan Mayer had an RBI triple
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- Junior left-hander Charlie Furbush held Southern Miss to one run on three hits in eight innings on Friday night to lead LSU to a 2-1 win in a game that ended on a thrilling double play at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU (10-6) won its third straight game and its second consecutive contest by a 2-1 score. The Tigers improved to 4-2 in one-run contests, which included victories at Centenary on Tuesday and versus Southern Miss Friday night.

Southern Miss (11-3) entered the contest without allowing a run in its last two games after shutting out UL-Lafayette and No. 22 Alabama. As a pitching staff, the Golden Eagles entered Friday’s game with a 2.09 ERA and had limited opponents to a .206 batting average.

LSU junior right-hander Jared Bradford (2-1, 1.96), named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday, will pitch against USM junior right-hander Barry Bowden (1-1, 4.96) in Game 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Live audio, streaming video and live stats of the contest are available to members of the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

USM starter Ryan Belanger (3-1) allowed only two runs  -- one earned on Friday on four hits in 6.2 innings of work.

Belanger, a native of Houma, La., held the Tigers hitless over the first three frames until second baseman Chris Jackson led off the fourth with a sharp single. However, Jackson was erased when he attempted to steal second.

Furbush (3-1) was equally effective with perhaps his best outing of the season. The 6-foot-4 hurler lowered his ERA to 2.61 after allowing no earned runs in eight innings. He walked none and struck out five on 97 pitches.

"(Furbush) pitched courageously tonight," said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. "I thought it was an awesome performance."

The only run Furbush surrendered came after two LSU errors in the first inning. Trey Sutton reached on a one-out fielding error by first baseman Jordan Mayer and then took second when Jackson fired wildly into the dugout in attempting to throw him out. Sutton later scored on passed ball by catcher Sean Ochinko.

LSU ended the Golden Eagles' consecutive scoreless streak at 26.2 innings in the fifth. Ochinko reached on a leadoff error by third baseman James Ewing. Two batters later, Mayer ripped an RBI triple into the right-centerfield gap to tie the game at 1-1.

The Tigers manufactured the go-ahead run in the seventh. After Ochinko and right fielder Steven Waguespack delivered back-to-back singles, third baseman J.T. Wise drove an opposite field sacrifice fly to the right field corner. Ochinko easily scored and LSU took a 2-1 lead.

Furbush pitched around a one-out single in the eighth when Ochinko atoned for his earlier passed ball by throwing out an attempted base stealer.

Mainieri elected to go to sophomore Louis Coleman in the ninth. Coleman, who was brilliant in picking up his first career save on Tuesday at Centenary, allowed back-to-back singles to pinch hitter Luke Adkins and shortstop Brian Dozier to start the ninth.

Dozier was retired at second base on a fielder’s choice grounder by Sutton, leaving runners on the corners with one out. Coleman then escaped the jam courtesy of a defensive gem from Waguespack. Ewing lined what looked to be a game-tying single to right field, but Waguespack made an incredible diving catch for the out.

Waguespack rose from his knees and doubled off Sutton at first base to end the game.

"I got a pretty good read on it," said Waguespack. "Once it found my glove, I realized to throw it back to first, even without a good grip on it."

"That was an amazing ending," added Mainieri. "I’m not sure I have ever seen an ending like that. It was a fantastic play by Waguespack. If you hustle good things happen."

Coleman converted his second straight save as the Tigers remained a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities on the season. 

"If we are going to use him (Coleman) in that role, he has to be able to close it out for us," said Mainieri. "He wasn't dominating in the ninth, but we’ll take it."

LSU 2, Southern Miss 1 (Mar 09, 2007 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Southern Miss ........ 100 000 000  -  1  5  1      (11-3)
LSU........................ 000 010 10X  -  2  4  2      (10-6)
Pitchers: Southern Miss - Ryan Belanger; JR Ballinger(7). LSU - Charlie Furbush; Louis Coleman(9).
Win-Charlie Furbush(3-1)  Save-Louis Coleman(2)  Loss-Ryan Belanger(3-1)  T-2:02  A-7371
Actual attendance: 3,114



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