Wednesday May 26, 2010LSU Downs No. 4 Baseball, 10-6
Eighth-seeded LSU (37-20) banged out 19 hits to defeat top-seeded Florida (40-14), 10-6, in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday at Regions Park. It marked the fifth-consecutive year that the eighth-seed has downed the top seed on day one and continued the trend of the lower-seeded squads winning today at the league event, as No. 7 Alabama defeated No. 2 Auburn, 7-1, and No. 6 Ole Miss blanked No. 3 South Carolina, 3-0, in the first two contests.
The Tigers will face the winner of tonight’s game between No. 4 Arkansas and No. 5 Vanderbilt in the second game of the evening session tomorrow night, while the Gators will meet tonight’s loser in the second elimination game of tomorrow’s first session. The game will be carried on CSS, in Gainesville on Cox Communications Channel 259 and via ESPN3.com on www.GatorZone.com.
Junior Anthony Ranaudo (4-2) worked a season-high 7.2 innings, giving up eight hits and six runs (five earned), and registered five strikeouts. The right-hander was supported by a Tiger offense that had eight of its nine starters contribute at least two hits. For the Gators, senior Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was 2-for-5 with three RBI, coming on a two-run double and a solo shot, and freshman Brian Johnson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) was 3-for-4 with a pair of two-baggers.
LSU erupted for five runs on five hits in the second inning off Johnson (5-4) to build a 4-0 lead. Senior Matt Gaudet (2-for-5) opened the scoring with a leadoff homer that cleared the center field fence. It was his team-leading 19th dinger of the campaign. Junior Leon Landry drew a walk on four pitches and freshman Alex Edward (2-for-4, two runs) reached on an infield hit to shortstop before the Tigers executed a double steal for a pair of runners in scoring position. After freshman Mason Katz (3-for-5) punched a two-run single up the middle for a 3-0 lead, sophomore Mikie Mahtook (2-for-5, two runs) walked on four pitches and sophomore Tyler Hanover (2-for-5) laid down a bunt single to load the bases with none out. Although Johnson had junior Micah Gibbs (2-for-5) ground into a 6-4-3 double play, Katz came home with the fourth run. Sophomore Austin Nola (3-for-6, two RBI) increased the margin to 5-0 with an RBI single into left field.
The Gators countered with a run in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice bunt by junior Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) (1-for-3, two RBI) that scored Johnson for a 5-1 deficit. Johnson had laced a one-out single into right center off Ranaudo and took second on a fielding error by Mahtook. Sophomore Daniel Pigott (Ormond Beach, Fla.) legged out an infield single for runners on the corners and Adams dragged a bunt up the first-base line to put Florida on the board.
LSU tacked on two more runs in the fourth to build a 7-1 lead. Hanover doubled to left with one down and went to third on a two-out single by senior Blake Dean (3-for-5) that ended the afternoon for Johnson (3.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 2 K). Nola greeted sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (Freehold, N.J.) with a base-hit into left center that expanded the margin to 6-1 and pushed Dean to third. The right-hander then uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Dean to come home for a six-run cushion.
den Dekker delivered a two-out, two-run double in the fifth to bring the Gators within 7-3. Sophomore Tyler Thompson (Tequesta, Fla.) (2-for-4) collected his third two-bagger of the year with one down and freshman Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) was plunked by a pitch from Ranaudo for a couple of runners aboard. den Dekker increased his hitting streak to 16 games with his seventh double into left field to drive in both of his teammates.
Dean opened the sixth with infield hit but was thrown out attempting to steal second on a perfect throw from sophomore Ben McMahan (Windermere, Fla.) to Adams covering the bag. Nola followed with a double and a single into right field by Gaudet left runners on the corners and prompted a pitching change. Freshman Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) replaced DeSclafani (1.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R) and let loose a wild pitch that brought across Nola for an 8-3 lead. Rodriguez worked two-thirds of an inning before giving way to junior Matt Campbell (Tampa, Fla.) to begin the seventh.
Gibbs poked a two-out RBI single in the seventh to boost LSU’s lead to 9-3. Mahtook singled up the middle, moved to second on a grounder by Hanover and went to third on a wild pitch by Campbell. Gibbs ripped a base-knock into left field to plate Mahtook.
den Dekker connected on his 12th homer to start the home part of the eighth to narrow the gap to 9-4. His blast cleared the wall over the 405-foot mark in straightaway center field. Freshman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) singled with one down and Pigott drew a two-out walk to end Ranaudo’s time on the hill. Senior Paul Bertuccini came in and Adams notched his second RBI of the game with an infield single to drive in Maddox. With runners at first and third, Thompson came through with a base-hit into right field that scored Pigott to bring Florida within 9-6. Bertuccini rebounded to strike out McMahan on a 3-2 pitch to close the frame.
Edward earned a free pass from senior Chas Spottswood (Key West, Fla.) to begin the ninth and Katz stroked a single down the right-field line before Mahtook sliced an RBI single through the left side for a 10-6 advantage. A sacrifice bunt by Hanover advanced sophomore pinch runner Johnny Dishon and Mahtook, prompting another pitching change. Sophomore Greg Larson (Longwood, Fla.) entered for Spottswood (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R) and walked Gibbs intentionally to fill the sacks with one down. The move paid off when the righty had Dean pop up and Nola ground out to strand the runners.
· Florida fell in the opening round of the SEC Tournament for the fourth-straight year.
· The Gators’ four-game winning streak against LSU came to an end.
· UF dropped to 9-6 all-time against the Tigers in SEC Tourney play.
· Brian Johnson tied the school record with two doubles in an SEC Tourney game, last accomplished by Matt LaPorta against Ole Miss on May 26, 2005. It was the seventh time that it happened.
· With 43 RBI, Matt den Dekker is moving closer to his career high of 48 set in 2008.
· The 19 hits allowed by the Gator pitching staff matched its season high at Ole Miss on March 27.