Defense comes through for LSU

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 7, 2004

BATON ROUGE &045; With LSU undefeated in NCAA championship game situations, it was already going to be tough for the College of Charleston to pull off the miracle of advancing from the school’s first-ever regional to the school’s first-ever super regional.

It made matters worse when the Tigers decided that not only would they pound the pitching of the Cougars, but they’d also bring their ‘A’ game defensively.

LSU turned three double plays in the 11-3 win Sunday and right fielder Jon Zeringue took extra bases away from Charleston designated hitter Brett Anderson twice with impressive catches.

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&uot;We knew coming in that (LSU) could play some good defense,&uot; Cougar head coach John Pawlowski said. &uot;They did an outstanding job defensively. They took advantage of some of our mistakes pitching.&uot;

Already clinging to a 1-0 cushion thanks to Blake Gill’s RBI double in the first, Zeringue helped the Tigers stay in front with a leaping catch at the fence in right.

Anderson tattooed a 2-1 offering from LSU starter Lane Mestepey and it appeared the win might carry it on out to Nicholson Drive.

However, Zeringue got his steps down, surveyed the area and snatched the ball as it fell back to Earth.

&uot;It’s very frustrating to have someone make a good play on you defensively,&uot; said Cougar outfielder Byron Barber, who had a pair of RBIs. &uot;It just deflates you and the team.&uot;

In the first and ninth innings shortstop Blake Gill was Johnny-on-the-spot for two of the Tigers’ three double plays.

In the first Charleston second baseman Chris Campbell smoked a Mestepey offering just left of the bag and it appeared it had eyes for center field, possibly scoring Brett Gardner, who was moving from second on the pitch.

However, Gill shuffled to his left, gobbled it up, stepped on second for the force of Barber, who had been hit by a pitch, and rifled over to Will Harris at first to punch out a blazing Campbell.

&uot;Double plays are a pitcher’s best friend,&uot; Gill said. &uot;(Mestepey) gets them to hit ground balls. That’s his forte. It takes the wind out of your sails. That’s the worst thing you can do as a hitter.&uot;

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM &045; Even though he wasn’t here playing on the regional’s final day, Southern Miss second baseman and Vidalia, La., native Jarrett Hoffpauir’s name made an appearance when the regional’s All-Tournament team was announced.

Hoffpauir, who .455 in 11 at-bats during three games, and Charleston’s Campbell shared the second base slot, while eight LSU players made the list, led by Gill, the tourney’s most outstanding player.

&uot;It was a great weekend,&uot; said Campbell, who went 4 for 4 in Saturday’s 7-3 win over Hoffpauir’s Golden Eagles. &uot;I was expecting to do well, but making the All-Tournament team as a freshman is very exciting.&uot;