LSU beats Vanderbilt for 18th straight win

Published 12:01 am Friday, May 23, 2008

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Derek Helenihi hit a three-run homer and Blake Martin allowed four hits and one earned run in seven innings as LSU defeated Vanderbilt 8-2 on Thursday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.

The Tigers (41-16-1) have now won 18 consecutive games, the longest winning streak in college baseball. They have not lost since April 19.

Vanderbilt (38-19) will play Alabama at approximately 6:30 p.m. CDT Friday in an elimination game. LSU receives a bye Friday and advances into Saturday’s semifinal round of the double-elimination tournament.

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Martin (5-3) was in control for much of the game. His only serious trouble came in the seventh, when Vanderbilt loaded the bases with one out. But Martin got out of the inning allowing only one run, on a sacrifice fly by Parker Hanks.

A sloppy fourth inning by Vanderbilt enabled the Tigers to take a 4-1 lead. After Vandy starter Caleb Cotham (7-5) opened the inning by hitting Helenihi with a pitch, LSU reeled off four consecutive hits. The Commodores also committed two throwing errors at third base, allowing a runner to score each time.

An inning later, Helenihi hit only his third home run of the season, giving the Tigers a 7-1 lead and chasing Cotham from the game.

The bottom third of the order came up big for LSU. D.J. LeMahieu and Leon Landry both went 2-for-4, and Ryan Schimpf had two RBI.

Hanks had both of Vandy’s RBIs. He hit a home run in the third inning that gave Vanderbilt a 1-0 lead.

It was only his fourth homer of the season.