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Big Innings Help No. 5 Baseball Win Series at USC

LSU's Matty Ott struck out six in three innings of relief
LSU's Matty Ott struck out six in three innings of relief
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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- LSU collected 14 hits, including three home runs, as the fifth-ranked Tigers defeated South Carolina, 11-3, Sunday at Carolina Stadium.

LSU, which won its sixth straight SEC series dating back to last season, improved to 17-5 overall, 4-2 in league play. South Carolina dropped to 14-6 and 2-4.

LSU begins a two-game series with Harvard at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers resume SEC action next weekend with a three-game series against Ole Miss in Alex Box Stadium.

LSU reached double-figures in hits for the first time since March 11, when the Tigers recorded 13 hits  against Louisiana-Lafayette.

“We swung the bats well today, and that was great to see,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I liked our aggressive approach at the plate, and this is something we can build upon as the season progresses. It’s a long season; we’ve only played six SEC games and we must continue to work hard and improve.”

South Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when rightfielder Jackie Bradley led off the inning with a homer, his fourth of the season and second of the series.

The Gamecocks extended the advantage to 2-0 in the third when Bradley scored after a throwing error by LSU second baseman Ryan Schimpf.

LSU narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the fourth on a lead-off homer by rightfielder Derek Helenihi, his first dinger of the season. The Tigers added two more runs in the inning to take a 3-2 lead as designated hitter Blake Dean and Schimpf each lifted sacrifice flies.

South Carolina responded with a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Whit Merrifield.

LSU struck for three runs in the sixth as catcher Micah Gibbs delivered a sacrifice fly and Schimpf launched a two-run homer, his fourth homer in six games and his fifth of the season.

LSU added five more runs in the eighth, sending 10 batters to the plate. Centerfielder Leon Landry belted a three-run homer and Helenihi lined a two-run double to highlight the uprising. The home run was a team-best ninth dinger of the season for Landry.

LSU starter Austin Ross (3-2) earned the win, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Relievers Paul Bertuccini and Matty Ott combined to blank the Gamecocks over the final 3.2 innings, registering eight strikeouts.

Ott was credited with his second save of the season, as he worked three scoreless innings, allowing no hits with six strikeouts.

“Our pitching was outstanding today,” Mainieri said. “Austin Ross gave us a strong outing, and Bertuccini and Ott were superb in relief. With the exception of one inning on Friday night, I thought our pitching was excellent the entire series.”

South Carolina reliever Parker Bangs (1-1) was charged with the loss as he surrendered six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 2.1 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.

Gamecocks starter Nolan Belcher worked the first 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

LSU 11, South Carolina 3 (Mar 22, 2009 at Columbia, S.C.)

LSU....................... 000 303 050  - 11 14  3      (17-5, 4-2 SEC)
South Carolina...... 101 010 000  -  3  4  1         (14-6, 2-4 SEC)

Pitchers: LSU - Austin Ross; Paul Bertuccini(6); Matty Ott(7).
South Carolina - Nolan Belcher; Parker Bangs(5); Grimes Medlin(8); Michael Roth(9).
Win-Austin Ross(3-2)  Save-Matty Ott(2)  Loss-Parker Bangs(1-1)  T-2:50  A-7436
HR LSU - Derek Helenihi (1); Ryan Schimpf (5); Leon Landry (9).
HR USC - Jackie Bradley, Jr. (4).
Bangs faced 3 batters in the 8th.

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