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Baseball Splits Sunday Twin Bill with Kentucky

LSU game 3 winner Louis Coleman
LSU game 3 winner Louis Coleman
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BATON ROUGE -- Second baseman Ryan Schimpf homered and starter Louis Coleman threw a complete game as the third-ranked Tigers topped Kentucky 3-1 to split a Sunday doubleheader and win their opening SEC series.

The Tigers (13-4, 2-1) won their fifth straight SEC series dating back to last season. Kentucky (12-4, 1-2) won the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, 5-2. Both Sunday contests were seven-inning games.

Coleman (4-1) pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits and striking out seven while giving up only one earned run, his first of the season. He also struck out the side in the seventh to end the game.

Offensively, the Tigers managed only two hits off Wildcat starter Alex Meyer (1-1). It was Meyer’s first SEC start of his career.

“He looked like he was throwing the ball 100 mph,” head coach Paul Mainieri said of Meyer. “Kentucky’s three starters presented as great of a challenge as any we’ve ever faced. If every team in the league has three arms as good as those it’s going to be a long year.

“It was a very competitive, hard-fought series this weekend, and I’m proud of our players for earning two wins.”

LSU got the scoring started early in Game 2 when third baseman Tyler Hanover hit a sacrifice fly deep to left field to score Jared Mitchell, who walked then stole second and third. Mitchell is now a perfect 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts this season, which leads the SEC.

Kentucky answered in the second inning when first baseman Spencer Korus singled home left fielder Troy Frazier to tie the score at 1-1.

The Tigers broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth when Schimpf blasted a two-run homer over the right field wall to put LSU up 3-1. It was Schimpf’s second home run of the season.

In the fifth inning, Mitchell stole his fourth base of the game when he took second. It was the first time since 1975 that a Tiger has stolen four bases in a game. The last player to do it was Wally McMakin against Michigan State.

Kentucky left-hander Chris Rusin threw a complete game in Sunday’s opener, striking out six, to top LSU. Rusin (3-1) got the win allowing two runs on six hits and struck out six in seven innings of work.

“We’ve faced Rusin three years in a row,” Mainieri said. “And he’s pitched great against us three years in a row. I have so much respect for that kid. The way he pitches and his demeanor on the mound are outstanding.”

Offensively, LSU was led by first baseman Sean Ochinko, who finished 2-for-3 with a double and shortstop DJ LeMahieu, who finished 2-for-4.

Kentucky got on the board first when second baseman Chris Bisson doubled to lead off the game and later scored on a single by Keenan Wiley to put the Wildcats up 1-0.

The Tigers were held scoreless through the first three innings and Kentucky added to their lead in the fourth when right fielder Chad Wright singled and later scored on a fielder’s choice by left fielder Troy Frazier.

The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead later in the inning when third baseman Andy Burns singled to left scoring Frazier.

LSU responded in the bottom of the fourth when catcher Micah Gibbs doubled to deep left-center field to score Jared Mitchell. The next batter, Leon Landry singled to right to drive home Gibbs and cut the deficit to 3-2.

In the top of the sixth, Kentucky catcher Marcus Nidiffer hit a solo homer off LSU starter Austin Ross to increase the Wildcat lead to 4-2.

Ross (2-2) left the game after six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and striking out seven.

Sophomore right-hander Daniel Bradshaw came on in relief for Ross in the seventh and struck out two, but gave up a run to the Wildcats on a sacrifice fly hit by Nidiffer, who finished 3-for-3, to put the Wildcats up 5-2.

GAME 1
Kentucky 5, LSU 2 (Mar 15, 2009 at Baton Rouge, La.) (Game 1)

Kentucky............ 100 201 1 -  5 11  1      (12-3, 1-1 SEC)
LSU.................... 000 200 0 -  2  6  2      (12-4, 1-1 SEC)

Pitchers: Kentucky - Chris Rusin. LSU - Austin Ross; Daniel Bradshaw(7).
Win-Chris Rusin(3-1)  Loss-Austin Ross(2-2)  T-2:23  A-8988
HR UK - Marcus Nidiffer (3).
Actual Attendance: 4,882

GAME 2
LSU 3, Kentucky 1 (Mar 15, 2009 at Baton Rouge, La.) (Game 2)

Kentucky............ 010 000 0 -  1  4  1      (12-4, 1-2 SEC)
LSU.................... 100 200 X -  3  2  1      (13-4, 2-1 SEC)

Pitchers: Kentucky - Alex Meyer; Logan Darnell(6). LSU - Louis Coleman.
Win-Louis Coleman(4-1)  Loss-Alex Meyer(1-1)  T-2:25  A-9185
HR LSU - Ryan Schimpf (2).
Actual Attendance: 4,376
Meyer faced 1 batter in the 6th.

 

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