LSU upset by Vandy in SEC Tournament

Published 1:46 am Thursday, May 21, 2009

HOOVER, Ala. — Vanderbilt starting pitcher Mike Minor threw a complete game and the eighth-seeded Commodores came through with key hits to top No.1 seed LSU, 4-1, in the opening round of the SEC tournament Wednesday night at Regions Park.

The Tigers (41-16) will play again at 1:30 p.m. today against the loser of the South Carolina-Alabama contest.

Vanderbilt (32-24) will face the winner of the South Carolina-Alabama game at 8:30 tonight.

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Minor (6-4) threw nine innings for Vanderbilt and allowed only one run on six hits, while walking three and striking out five.

“Vanderbilt is a very talented team, and they played well tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Minor, who is probably going to be a first-round draft pick, was very effective against us. We just have to get a good night’s sleep and come out tomorrow ready to play against another great team, either Alabama or South Carolina. We’ll try to win that game and then think about moving forward in the tournament.”

Leading LSU offensively Wednesday was centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, who went 2-for-4. Catcher Micah Gibbs also extended his hitting streak to nine straight games with a single in the sixth.

Vanderbilt took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when catcher Andrew Giobbi hit a solo homer over the wall in left. It was Giobbi’s fifth homer of the year.

In the fifth, Vanderbilt centerfielder Jonathan White doubled off the wall in left, advancing shortstop Brian Harris to third. Ross intentionally walked the next batter, Steven Liddle to load the bases.

The next batter, first baseman Curt Casali, hit a sacrifice fly deep to center field to score Harris and put the Commodores ahead 2-0.

The Commodores threatened in the sixth with two runners in scoring position and one out before Austin Ross struck out leftfielder Alex McClure and Brian Harris for the final two outs of the inning.

LSU right-hander Daniel Bradshaw came on in relief for Ross in the seventh with runners on first and third.

The Commodores went up 3-0 in the seventh when Casali doubled off the wall in left to score White and advance Liddle to third. The next batter, Aaron Westlake hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Liddle and put Vanderbilt up 4-0.

Both Commodore runs in the seventh were charged to Ross (5-7), who pitched six innings and allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out four.

LSU got on the board in the bottom of the seventh when Tyler Hanover scored on a ground out by Austin Nola to cut the deficit to 4-1. Hanover doubled earlier in the inning for LSU’s first extra-base hit of the contest.

Left-hander Chad Jones came on in relief for LSU with two outs in the eighth before striking out Liddle for the final out. Jones came back in the ninth and retired the side in order.