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LeBlanc, SLU Handcuff Baseball Tigers, 6-3

Jared Mitchell scored two of LSU's runs.
Jared Mitchell scored two of LSU's runs. (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- LSU dropped its second straight game, falling to Southeastern Louisiana, 6-3, Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium. The loss to SLU (7-6) broke LSU’s 11-game win streak in the series between the schools, as the Tigers fell to the Lions for the first time since 2002.

The Tigers (11-3) fell behind early by giving up five runs in the fifth, but came back to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning.

“Obviously, we dug ourselves a big hole at the start,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “In the end, they just played better than we did.”

Ryan Byrd (1-1) got the start on the mound for the Tigers. He pitched well early, retiring the first five batters he faced four on strikeouts.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, SLU’s Rene’ LeBlanc (1-1) was sharp on the mound, too. He shut down the Tigers early, retiring the first six LSU batters in order. For the game, he pitched 6.2 innings, struck out five and was credited with the win.

A double by the Lions’ Jordan D’Arensbourg in the third put SLU in scoring position. A wild pitch by Byrd advanced D’Arensbourg to third base. A single by Cass Hargis gave the Lions their first run of the game.

The Tigers didn’t get their first hit until the third inning, when Nicholas Pontiff singled to right field.

Byrd encountered trouble in the fifth when Matthew Schexnayder was hit by a pitch following a Chris Ernest single. D’Arensbourg sacrificed the two over, and Hargis was intentionally walked to load the bases. Xavier Qualls smacked a two-RBI double to put the Lions up 3-0.

The inning wasn’t over, however. Ty Summerlin hit a pop fly that dropped right in front of Jared Mitchell to bring home the third run of the inning. On the very next pitch, Brandon Street lined a shot up the middle to give SLU a 5-0 lead.

Byrd was pulled after Street’s hit and charged with the loss, giving up six runs and striking out six in 4.1 innings.

Paul Bertuccini came on in relief for the Tigers, and walked the first batter he faced to load the bags. He then plunked Josh Cryer in the batting helmet, bringing home the Lions fifth and final run of the inning.

Things started to look up for the Tigers in the fifth. Mitchell got the Tigers’ third hit of the game, but unlike the previous two Tiger base runners, Mitchell got past first base when Michael Hollander hit a single into right field. He and Hollander came home on a Ryan Schimpf double, putting the Tigers on the board.

“I thought that we finally started swinging the bat with some aggressiveness after five innings,” added Mainieri. “We started hitting a lot of balls hard.”

Mitchell got things going again in the seventh when he hit a line drive straight up the middle. He scored when Hollander drilled a shot to the left field where Qualls made an unsuccessful diving attempt on the ball. Unfortunately, Hollander got caught in a rundown between third and home and was subsequently tagged out.

Blake Dean reached on a chopper in the eighth and Matt Clark walked. Leon Landry came in to pinch hit with two outs, but he grounded out to first base.

The Tigers made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Pontiff and Hollander reached on errors by the Lions. However, LeMahieu, representing the tying run at the plate, fouled out to first base, ending the threat and the game.

Five different LSU pitchers were used for the final four innings of the game. Jordan Brown and Jordan Nicholson combined to strike out three.

Mitchell and Hollander led the Tigers with two hits a piece. Schimpf had one hit and two RBI.

LSU begins conference play this weekend when the Tigers travel to Knoxville, Tenn. for a weekend series against Tennessee. Friday’s game will start at 6 p.m. CDT and the contests on Saturday and Sunday will both begin at Noon CDT.
Southeastern La. 6, LSU 3 (Mar 11, 2008 at Baton Rouge, La.)


Southeastern La..... 001 050 000  -  6  8  2      (7-6)
LSU...................... 000 020 100  -  3  9  0      (11-3)


Pitchers: Southeastern La. - LeBlanc, Rene'; Collins, Ryan(7).
LSU - Ryan Byrd; Paul Bertuccini(5); Austin Ross(6); Jordan Brown(7); Jordan Nicholson(8); Nolan Cain(9); Shane Ardoin(9).
Win-LeBlanc, Rene'(1-1)  Save-Collins, Ryan(1)  Loss-Ryan Byrd(1-1)  T-2:32  A-7294
Weather: 60 degrees and cloudy
Actual attendance: 2,343



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