COLUMBIA, S.C. - Pinch hitter Jackson Slaid delivered a two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th inning for the go-ahead run Saturday as fourth-ranked LSU posted a 3-2 victory over top-ranked South Carolina to claim the 2012 SEC championship.
LSU concluded the regular season with a 42-14 overall mark, 19-11 in the SEC. Later, the Tigers learned that it won the league title outright, as Kentucky and Florida each lost Saturday afternoon. It's LSU's first outright SEC title since 2003.
South Carolina is 39-15 overall and 18-11 in league play.
The SEC title for LSU is a league-best 15th in school history, and the Tigers' second conference championship in four seasons.
LSU will begin play Wednesday in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. against an opponent to be determined. The conference office will release the 10-team tournament bracket Saturday night.
"What a resilient effort by our players; they've certainly earned the right to call themselves SEC champions," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "This team has overcome adversity all season and overachieved in a lot of ways. I'm extremely proud to be their coach - they're young men of great character who represent our university the right way. To win the SEC title in this environment against the two-time defending national champions is a tremendous achievement."
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 10th, LSU designated hitter Jordy Snikeris led off with a walk from South Carolina reliever Evan Beal, and Snikeris advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Tyler Hanover.
Slaid, facing reliever Tyler Webb, punched a 3-2 pitch into right field to score Snikeris with the go-ahead run. First baseman Mason Katz lined a Webb pitch into center field to score Nola and give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
South Carolina Evan Marzilli doubled off of LSU closer Nick Goody to lead off the bottom of the 10th, and rightfielder Adam Matthews singled to put runners at the corners.
First baseman Christian Walker lined a sacrifice fly to reduce the Tigers' lead to 3-2, but Goody, who earned his 10th save, retired third baseman LB Dantzler on a fly ball to right and catcher Grayson Greiner on a pop out to first to end the game.
|SEC Baseball Standings|
|South Carolina (2)||18-11||39-15|
|Mississippi St. (7)||16-14||34-21|
|Ole Miss (9)||14-16||34-22|
|SEC Weekend Schedule|
All Times Central and Subject to Change
Saturday, May 19
Tuesday, May 22
Wednesday, May 23
LSU reliever Chris Cotton (6-0) earned the victory, firing three scoreless innings with no hits, one walk and four strikeouts. LSU starter Ryan Eades turned in an outstanding effort, limiting the Gamecocks to one run on seven hits in 5.1 innings with one walk and six strikeouts.
Beal (3-4) was charged with the loss as he surrendered two runs on no hits in 2.2 innings with two walks and one strikeout.
Fields doubled with one out in the first inning, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a groundout by Katz to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
South Carolina tied the game in the third as Marzilli tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Matthews, and the game remained knotted at 1-1 until the Tigers' rally in the top of the 10th.
LSU 3, South Carolina 2 (May 19, 2012 at Columbia, S.C.)
LSU...................... 100 000 000 2 - 3 7 0 (42-14, 19-11 SEC)
South Carolina...... 001 000 000 1 - 2 9 0 (39-15, 18-11 SEC)
Pitchers: LSU - Ryan Eades; Brent Bonvillain(6); Chris Cotton(7); Nick Goody(10) and Tyler Moore.
South Carolina - Colby Holmes; Nolan Belcher(7); Evan Beal(8); Tyler Webb(10);
Hunter Privette(10); Logan Munson(10) and Grayson Greiner.
Win-Chris Cotton(6-0) Save-Nick Goody(10) Loss-Evan Beal(3-4) T-3:08 A-8242
Belcher faced 2 batters in the 8th.