Second-Ranked LSU Takes Series From Tide
LSU (26-9, 10-5 SEC) won its eighth straight Southeastern Conference series dating back to the 2008 season. The Tigers have also won four straight series' against the Tide. Alabama (22-12, 7-8 SEC) had its streak of 10 straight home series wins come to an end with the series loss to LSU. The Tide had not lost an SEC home series since dropping two of three to LSU during the 2007 season.
Dean went 3-for-4 with five RBI to lead the Tigers' 19-hit attack. He had an RBI single in the third inning, a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth, a solo home run in the seventh and a sacrifice fly in the eighth. He has nine RBI in the last two games.
Alabama (22-12, 7-8 SEC) hit five solo home runs in Sunday's loss, including senior right fielder Kent Matthes' NCAA-leading 20th home run. Junior third baseman Jake Smith hit two home runs, while juniors Brandon May and Del Howell also homered for the Tide.
"We never gave up," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "That was a great offensive performance today against (Coleman and Ott). "
In addition to Dean, shortstop DJ LeMahieu had four hits and one RBI for LSU, while third baseman Tyler Hanover and second baseman Ryan Schimpf had three hits each. Schimpf also scored three runs for the Tigers.
May had three hits to lead the Tide offense for the third straight game. He was 9-for-12 (.750) in the series with two home runs and eight RBI.
LSU scored single runs in the first two innings to take a 2-0 lead. Ryan Schimpf's ninth home run of the season gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first inning and Mikie Mahtook's two-out single scored DJ LeMahieu in the second inning. LeMahieu had reached on a one-out double to right.
Alabama made its mark in the second inning, with two runs against Louis Coleman, who threw 46 pitches in the inning. After two quick outs, junior third baseman Smith hit his 11th home run of the season to pull the Tide to within a run at 2-1. Senior center fielder Tyler Odle and senior first baseman Wes Henderson drew back-to-back walks before senior catcher Vin Difazio doubled down the left field line to score Odle with the tying run. Freshman left fielder Taylor Dugas walked to load the bases before sophomore shortstop Josh Rutledge grounded out to third to end the inning.
LSU got another run in the third when Dean singled home Tyler Hanover with two outs to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Hanover led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Jared Mitchell's sacrifice bunt.
Alabama pulled even again in the bottom of the third when Matthes swatted his NCAA-leading 20th home run to make it 3-3. He is the 13th player in school history to hit 20 home runs in a season and the first since Beau Hearod hit 20 home runs in 2003.
LSU regained the lead with two runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-3 lead. The Tigers got back-to-back singles from Mitchell and Schimpf to put runners at first and second with one out. Wells went to the bullpen and replaced Adam Scott with left-hander Adam Morgan to face the hot-hitting, left-hander Dean. The LSU designated hitter lined a double down the right field line on a 1-2 pitch to give the Tigers the lead for good at 5-3.
Scott (1-1) gave up five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for his first loss of the season. He added three strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
Coleman (7-1), who survived a 46-pitch second inning, earned the win for the Tigers with six innings of work on the mound. He allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and four walks.
LSU added two more runs in the sixth inning on three straight one-out hits and then broke the game open with a four runs in the eighth to take a 12-3 lead.
Alabama got a run back in the eighth and then hit three solo home runs in the ninth off LSU closer Matt Ott to make the final 12-7. May and Smith homered on consecutive pitches in the ninth inning and Howell added a pinch-hit home run.
The Crimson Tide has a busy week ahead with six games in the next seven days. Alabama and UAB will play the completion of a suspended game on Monday at 4 p.m. (CDT) at Jerry D. Young Memorial Field in Birmingham. The Crimson Tide and Blazers were tied 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning when the game was stopped on March 25. The UAB game will not be aired on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, but live stats will be available on www.RollTide.com.
In addition to the UAB game, Alabama will host Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. (CDT) in Tuscaloosa and play at Samford on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (CDT) in Birmingham. Alabama will travel to Vanderbilt for its next SEC series next weekend.
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