LSU demolishes Minnesota to move to Super Regional

Published 12:14 am Monday, June 1, 2009

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louis Coleman pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one run on five hits while striking out eight, and LSU beat Minnesota 10-3 Sunday night to advance to the Super Regional round of the NCAA tournament.

Blake Dean and Ryan Schimpf each had three hits and two RBIs, including a home run apiece for LSU (49-16), which raced to a 7-0 lead in the top of the third. Micah Gibbs was 4 for 5 with an RBI and four runs scored.

LSU belted 17 hits against Minnesota (40-19), which reached the championship round of the Baton Rouge regional by beating Baylor 15-12 earlier Sunday.

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LSU, the Southeastern Conference champion, is seeking its second straight trip to the College World Series and 15th in school history.

LSU racked up nine hits in the first four innings to drive Minnesota starter Allen Bechstein (0-1) from the game, but it was an uncharacteristic error by the Gophers’ Big Ten-leading defense that got the Tigers going in the second inning.

Minnesota’s Kyle Geason misplayed Sean Ochinko’s routine grounder to third, which could have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, LSU had two on and D.J. LeMahieu belted an RBI double to center. Derek Helenihi followed with a two-run single up the middle, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

Later in the inning, Ryan Schimpf yanked a double down the right field line, plating Helenihi to make it 4-0 before Jared Mitchell was thrown out trying to score from first.

Dean added his 15th home run of the season in the top of the third, driving an opposite-field liner just inside the left field foul pole. Micah Gibbs followed with a single, Mikie Mahtook was hit by a pitch and Sean Ochinko lined an RBI single to right. Then Mahtook scored on LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly, making it 7-0.

Dean’s run-scoring single made it 8-0 in the sixth, then Gibbs’ double to left-center drove home Dean to make it 9-0.

That was plenty for Coleman (12-2), who was the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year with 2.84 earned-run average and 111 strikeouts coming into the regional. He had a four-hit shutout through six innings, and even got a little help in the sixth from the umpires, who ruled right fielder Jared Mitchell made a diving catch on Derek McCallum’s sinking liner. Replays showed the ball squirted out of Mitchell’s glove, and that Mitchell rolled over it before picking it up with his bare hand. LSU then tossed the ball to first base to double off A.J. Pettersen, who also thought McCallum had a base hit.

Minnesota head coach John Anderson came out to argue and umpires ejected Gophers player Tyler Oakes, who was in the dugout. An inning later, Oakes’ father, pitching coach Todd Oakes, was ejected and tipped his cap to the jeering pro-LSU crowd as he walked off the field.

Coleman did not allow a run until Kyle Knudson’s solo homer to left center in the seventh. LSU head coach Paul Mainieri, now 18-4 in the postseason as LSU coach, replaced Coleman with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, allowing the crowd to give him a standing ovation while his teammates mobbed him in front of the dugout.