LSU comes back to beat Bulldogs

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 15, 2009

STARKVILLE — Second-ranked LSU rebounded from a 4-1 deficit with a three-run seventh inning Thursday night, and the Tigers went on to post a 5-4 victory over Mississippi State at Dudy Noble Field.

LSU (40-14, 19-9 SEC) maintained a one-game lead over Florida and Ole Miss in the SEC standings with two games remaining in the regular season. Mississippi State dropped to 24-28 overall, 8-19 in the SEC with Thursday’s loss.

The teams meet in Game 2 of the series at 6:30 p.m. Friday. An LSU win on Friday will guarantee the Tigers at least a share of the SEC championship.

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“I’m so proud of the way our players competed and came back to win after we fell behind early,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It epitomized the character of our team. We always felt we could get back in the game, and our guys came through with a tremendous effort.”

Centerfielder Mikie Mahtook’s solo homer in the first inning gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead; however, Mississippi State tied the game in the second on an RBI single by rightfielder Ryan Collins against LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo.

The Bulldogs struck for three runs on three hits in the third to take a 4-1 lead. RBI singles by third baseman Russ Sneed and second baseman Jet Butler, and a sacrifice fly by shortstop Frank Rawdow highlighted the MSU rally.

Ranaudo settled in after the third inning, retiring 13 of the 14 batters he faced from the fourth inning until he left the game with one out in the eighth.

Ranaudo (7-3) threw 128 pitches in 7.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with five walks and six strikeouts.

LSU trailed 4-1 in the seventh when the Tigers mounted their comeback. Rightfielder Jared Mitchell walked and catcher Micah Gibbs singled, signaling the exit of MSU starter Tyler Whitney.

LSU shortstop Austin Nola greeted State reliever Lee Swindle with a two-run double, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to 4-3. With one out, centerfielder Mikie Mahtook singled home Nola to tie the game at 4-4.

The Tigers took a 5-4 lead in the eighth when Mitchell doubled off of reliever Chad Crosswhite, moved to third on Gibbs’ groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

Ranaudo struck out MSU first baseman Connor Powers to start the bottom of the eighth before yielding the mound to reliever Matty Ott. Ott worked the final 1.2 innings to earn his 12th save, allowing no runs on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Crosswhite (0-4) was charged with the loss as he allowed one run on three hits in 2.2 innings with no walks and one strikeout.

Ole Miss 7, Arkansas 5

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Rebels capitalized on errors and timely hits to take an early lead and held the Razorbacks off down the stretch as No. 9 Ole Miss (38-15, 18-10 SEC) defeated No. 16 Arkansas (32-18, 14-13 SEC) by a score of 7-5 on Thursday night.

The win ties the school record for wins in conference play set in 2005 when the Rebels swept Arkansas for the SEC Western Division title.

Drew Pomeranz (6-3) picked up the win as he worked 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Jake Morgan picked up his eighth save of the season as he worked the final 2.0 innings and held the Razorbacks scoreless on one hit and struck out one.

Dallas Keuchel (7-3) suffered the loss as he worked 6.2 innings ad gave up seven runs – two earned – on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

Brett Basham led the Rebel offense on the night with a 3-for-5 performance and a run scored as the senior reached base four times on the night.

“A good thing about the game tonight is we were able to get hits after the errors and capitalize on them,” said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. “We were able to get some walks tonight and really competed well offensively.

“It was a terrific effort by Drew (Pomeranz),” Bianco said. “Arkansas swung the bat well tonight, but he just continued to hang in there and stay out of the big inning.”

Ole Miss got on the board in the first as the Rebels loaded the bases with two outs before Jeremy Travis came up with a grounder to second. The Razorback second baseman made a diving play on the ball, but threw the ball away at first, allowing Travis to reach safely and two runs scored on the play giving the Rebels the 2-0 advantage.

Arkansas responded in the bottom half of the inning, using a single and a double to drive in the first run and cut the lead in half. Pomeranz then held the Razorbacks off, striking out three of the next four batters to end the inning.

The Rebels answered with a five run third inning as Ole Miss took advantage of a pair of Razorback errors and used three hits to plate the five runs. Kyle Henson and Zach Miller used back-to-back singles to open the frame before things got wild. Jeremy Travis laid down a sac bunt, but reached on a throwing error by the pitcher that scored Henson, moved Miller to third and saw Travis move to second. Miller scored on a sac fly from Mort that moved Travis to second.

A sac bunt from Tim Ferguson scored Travis to give the Rebels the 5-1 lead. Brett Basham reached on a throwing error by the shortstop before Jordan Henry walked. Logan Power then came up with a two-RBI double to left to give the Rebels the 7-1 lead.