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Saturday May 9, 2009No. 3 LSU Blanks No. 9 Baseball, 4-0

Baton Rouge, La.

Before an Alex Box Stadium record crowd of 10,923 fans, No. 3 LSU (38-13/18-8 SEC) used a  combined four-hit shutout by senior Louis Coleman (10-2) and freshman Matty Ott to clinch its weekend series against No. 9 Florida (34-17/16-10 SEC), 4-0, on Saturday night. Coleman registered seven strikeouts and permitted four singles over eight innings before Ott nailed down the final three outs. The Gators remained two games in front of No. 13 Georgia in the East because the Bulldogs were on the short end of a 9-2 score to Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, LSU increased its lead in the overall SEC standings to two games over Florida and No. 7 Ole Miss, which dropped an 11-8 decision to Mississippi State.

 

The Bayou Bengals came out of the gates with two runs and four hits in the first inning against freshman Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) (5-2). Junior Ryan Schimpf (2-for-3) opened the scoring with his 15th homer, a solo shot with one down into the left-field bleachers. Junior Blake Dean (2-for-4) followed with a double to left center, moved to third on a groundout by sophomore DJ LeMahieu and scored on a wild pitch. Freshman Tyler Hanover and junior Jared Mitchell had back-to-back two-out singles before DeSclafani had junior Sean Ochinko ground out.

 

In the second, sophomore Micah Gibbs (2-for-2, two walks) opened the frame with his 11th double off the wall in left field and senior third baseman Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) misplayed freshman Austin Nola’s grounder for two runners aboard. The Gators turned a triple play to work out of trouble, as junior shortstop Mike Mooney (Loxahatchee, Fla.) snagged a line drive from freshman Mikie Mahtook, caught Gibbs running to third by throwing over to sophomore second baseman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.), who threw over to freshman Preston Tucker (Tampa, Fla.) at first base to catch Nola and complete the trifecta. Oddly enough, it was just the second triple play ever turned against LSU, with Ole Miss accomplishing the feat in the SEC Tournament on May 17, 2001. Florida turned a pair of triple plays last season, the most recent being at Tennessee on April 6 (Adams (2B)-Cole Figueroa (SS)-Clayton Pisani (1B).

 

UF had consecutive two-out singles off Coleman in the third by senior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.), who raised his hitting streak to 14 games with an infield hit, and Mooney. Tucker sent a ball to the warning track in center that was tracked down by Mahtook.

 

The Tigers increased their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the inning on an RBI grounder by Hanover. Schimpf opened with a single and moved to third on a base-hit up the middle by Dean, who occupied second on the relay throw to give LSU two men in scoring position. DeSclafani had LeMahieu ground out, keeping the runners still, but then Hanover hit a squibber to shortstop that brought across Schmipf. After a wild pitch moved the runners over, DeSclafani fanned Ochinko to hold the margin at three runs.

 

Coleman set down the first two UF hitters in the fifth before junior Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) singled into left field. After a fielding error by second baseman LeMahieu on Barnes’ grounder resulted in runners on the corners, Coleman had Mooney fly out to right field to preserve the 3-0 count.

 

DeSclafani departed after four innings in which he allowed seven hits and three runs, with two walks and a strikeout, and was replaced by junior Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.). The southpaw retired the first six batters he faced before yielding a leadoff double in the seventh to Gibbs. Davis got a key double play when Nola flew out to center field and junior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) nailed Gibbs trying to take third. The perfect strike became even more important when Mahtook smoked a double down the left-field line. Schimpf earned a free pass and Davis kept the Tigers off the board for the third-straight inning by having Dean ground out.

 

LeMahieu greeted junior Jeff Barfield (Perry, Ga.) with a double to start the eighth and scored on the combination of a wild pitch and a throwing error by junior catcher Buddy Munroe (Miami, Fla.) to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead. Ott took over for Coleman prior to the ninth and put down the visitors in order to end the contest. LSU enjoyed an 11-4 advantage in hits to end a three-series losing streak to Florida.

 

UF’s second shutout loss of the campaign was its first time being held scoreless in SEC play since Alabama’s Wade LeBlanc twirled a four-hitter in a 2-0 Crimson Tide victory on May 7, 2004. The Gators and Tigers will complete the three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m., live on Cox Sports. LSU will be sending sophomore righty Austin Ross (5-5, 4.88) to the mound against a Florida pitcher to be determined.

 

-UF-

 

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