LSU clinches SEC tourney berth with win over Miss. State

Published 12:11 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

BATON ROUGE — After exploding for eight runs in the third inning, LSU never looked back, as a seven-inning masterpiece by Austin Ross and three homers from the LSU offense powered the Tigers to a 17-3 victory over Mississippi State Friday night in Alex Box Stadium, clinching a berth for LSU in the SEC Tournament.

The Tigers (36-19, 14-15) earned a spot in the SEC Tournament with Friday’s win and Kentucky’s 20-0 loss at Georgia. Mississippi State fell to 22-33 overall and 5-24 in the SEC.

The series finale between LSU and Mississippi State will be at 3 p.m. today in Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers will start sophomore lefty Chris Matulis (5-2) on the mound, while the Bulldogs will counter with freshman right-hander Chris Stratton (4-3).

Ross (4-4) was outstanding for LSU, as the junior right-hander hurled seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.

The LSU offense was propelled by rightfielder Mikie Mahtook’s three-hit, four RBI performance, as well as a four RBI outing from shortstop Austin Nola. Mahtook, Leon Landry and second baseman Tyler Hanover each homered for the Tigers Friday night.

“I thought we played a complete ball game tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Our players showed a great deal of intensity at the plate, and Austin Ross gave us another very strong outing. The SEC is so tough every weekend, and qualifying for the conference tournament is a significant accomplishment. We’re certainly not satisfied, though, with just making the tournament. We want to continue to play well tomorrow and carry some momentum into the postseason.”