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No. 3 Baseball Overpowers Florida, 10-1

LSU's Anthony Ranaudo
LSU's Anthony Ranaudo
LSUsports.net
Jesse Delerno
Jesse Delerno

BATON ROUGE -- LSU designated hitter Blake Dean and second baseman DJ LeMahieu each homered, and starter Anthony Ranaudo limited No. 9 Florida to just one run in seven innings to propel the third-ranked Tigers to a 10-1 victory Friday evening in front of 9,030 fans, the second-largest crowd in the history of the new Alex Box Stadium.

With the win and Ole Miss’ loss to Mississippi State, LSU (37-13, 17-8 SEC) moved into sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference standings with five league games remaining. Florida (34-16, 16-9 SEC) dropped its first game in league play since its 5-3 loss to Ole Miss on April 19, 2009.

Dean finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, while LeMahieu collected three hits and three RBI on the evening. Center fielder Mikie Mahtook and first baseman Sean Ochinko chipped in with two hits apiece.

Ranaudo (6-3) surrendered only six hits and extended his league-leading strikeout total to 112. Florida’s Stephen Locke (3-1) was charged with his first loss of the season. The southpaw gave up nine earned runs on 12 hits in 5.1 innings.

“I thought it was a great effort by our guys tonight,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said.  “Anthony Ranaudo took charge of the game with his great performance. He went seven innings and only gave up six hits and one run and struck out seven. We’ll take that every time out of a starting pitcher.

“Our lineup was pretty tough today. Except for one opportunity that we squandered early in the game, I thought everybody had quality at-bats.”

The Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Dean drove in a run on a grounder to first, and Ochinko delivered a two-out, RBI double following a base hit by LeMahieu and a walk to third baseman Tyler Hanover.

LSU added four more in the fourth to go up, 6-0. Mahtook singled to left to bring home a run, and the Tigers took advantage of a fielding error by left fielder Avery Barnes to plate another. Dean then blasted a two-run homer to right two batters later to put LSU ahead by six.

The Gators got a run back in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-1. However, the Tigers struck back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach with a 10-1 advantage. Dean drove in his fourth run of the game with an RBI single, and LeMahieu connected on a three-run shot to left.

Meanwhile, Ranaudo remained strong on the mound, retiring the side in the seventh. Right-hander Nolan Cain hurled a scoreless eighth, and senior Buzzy Haydel struck out the side in the ninth to close out the game.

Game 2 of the series begins Saturday at 7 p.m. (CDT). The contest can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 FM), and live video, audio and stats will be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.

Saturday’s game will also be televised by Fox Sports Florida. Though the game will not be available on cable systems in Louisiana, it may be viewed via satellite by customers who have purchased the Fox Sports Regional package.

LSU 10, Florida 1 (May 08, 2009 at Baton Rouge, La.)

Florida............. 000 010 000  -  1  6  2      (34-16, 16-9 SEC)
LSU................. 002 404 00X  - 10 13  1    (37-13, 17-8 SEC)

Pitchers: Florida - Stephen Locke; Greg Larson(6); Justin Poovey(7).
LSU - Anthony Ranaudo; Nolan Cain(8); Buzzy Haydel(9).
Win-Anthony Ranaudo(6-3)  Loss-Stephen Locke(3-1)  T-2:52  A-10203
HR LSU - Blake Dean (12); DJ LeMahieu (4).
Actual Attendance: 9,030 (second-largest in Alex Box Stadium history)

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