Mahtook Powers No. 2 Baseball Past Gents, 12-4
BATON ROUGE -- LSU centerfielder Mikie Mahtook blasted a three-run homer and drove in four runs to pace the second-ranked Tigers to a 12-4 victory over Centenary (31-15) Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium.
With the win, the Tigers (39-14) finished with a 28-9 regular-season record in their new ball park.
“I think the kids performed fairly well overall for the year in the regular season here at home,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “I hope we can have the opportunity to play in the postseason at Alex Box.”
In addition to Mahtook, left fielder Leon Landry also enjoyed a fine game at the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with two runs, a double and an RBI. Furthermore, first baseman Ryan Schimpf and third baseman Tyler Hanover each collected two hits.
LSU freshman Chris Matulis (6-2) earned his sixth victory of the season. The southpaw fired a scoreless fourth inning and struck out two after relieving starter Daniel Bradshaw, who limited the Gents to only one hit in the first three frames.
“I thought Chris Matulis threw the ball really well in his one inning tonight,” Mainieri said. “He was down in the zone and had good control. Leon is swinging the bat well again, and he’s becoming another option for us down the stretch, especially against right-handed pitching.”
The Tigers took an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu plated a run on a grounder to shortstop, and Hanover drove in the other on an RBI single.
Mahtook launched a three-run dinger to left center with two outs in the second to give LSU a 5-0 advantage.
Centenary scored three runs in the fifth to cut the deficit to 5-3. Second baseman Thomas Deering connected on a solo homer to left, and the Gents took advantage of a pair of walks and a throwing error to bring home two more.
However, LSU broke the game open with a seven-run seventh. The Tigers drew six walks in the inning, including four with the bases loaded as the Gents’ pitching staff struggled to find the strike zone. Schimpf, LeMahieu and Mahtook also drove in runs during the frame.
Centenary’s Michael Tompkins hit a solo dinger with one out in the eighth to reduce the deficit to 12-4, but LSU relievers Ryan Byrd and Buzzy Haydel combined to pitch a perfect ninth to close out the game.
The Gents’ starter Joe Hagen (1-2) was charged with the loss after surrendering nine runs (eight earned) and nine hits in 6.1 innings.
LSU travels to Mississippi State this weekend seeking its first SEC regular-season title since 2003. The Tigers currently have a half-game lead over Alabama and a one-game lead over Florida and Ole Miss. Game 1 is Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (CDT), Game 2 starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Game 3 is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
All three games of the LSU-Mississippi State series may be viewed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. The games may also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Thursday’s game will be televised lived by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge). Friday’s game will be televised live on the Pelican Sports Network (Cable Ch. 113 in Baton Rouge) and it will be shown on a tape-delayed basis at 10 p.m. on Cox Sports Television.
Saturday’s series finale will not be televised.
LSU 12, Centenary 4 (May 12, 2009 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Centenary........... 000 030 010 - 4 4 1 (31-15)
LSU..................... 230 000 70X - 12 9 1 (39-14)
Pitchers: Centenary - Joe Hagen; Jacob Lugo(7); Michael Tompkins(7); Morgan Brian(8).
LSU - Daniel Bradshaw; Chris Matulis(4); Ben Alsup(5); Nolan Cain(5); Paul Bertuccini(7); Matty Ott(8); Ryan Byrd(9); Buzzy Haydel(9).
Win-Chris Matulis(6-2) Loss-Joe Hagen(1-2) T-3:05 A-9905
HR CC - Michael Tompkins (6); Tim Deering (2).
HR LSU - Mikie Mahtook (5).
Actual attendance: 5,644