LSU pounds out win over Tulane

Ryan Patterson and Ivan Naccarata each had four hits for LSU in the Tigers' 13-5 win over Tulane in Saturday's winner's bracket game of the Baton Rouge NCAA Regional.<br><br> LSU advances to Sunday's championship round and will play the winner of tonight's elimination game between the Green Wave and North Carolina-Wilmington.

The winner of the elimination game must be beat the Tigers twice in order to advance. Sunday's action begins at 1 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU head coach Smoke Laval was very pleased with his team's relentless offense after the Tigers never trailed Tulane.

"We kept having pressure, pressure, pressure so eventually when these guys got their base hits their when guys are on base," Laval said. "We were fortunate enough to run a few balls out of the park and break the game open."

After failing to score with the bases loaded and no one out in the first inning, LSU jumped on Tulane starter J.R. Crowel for two runs in the second inning when Naccarata led off the inning with a double and scored on a throwing error following J.C. Holt's bunt single. Holt would later score on a fielder's choice from left fielder Bruce Sprowl.

The Tigers pounded Crowel for five runs on five hits in the seventh inning, highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Clayton Harris and Blake Gill. Harris hit his team-leading 13th homer of the year to right field to score two runs and break open a 3-2 game.

"(Left-handers) usually try to stay away from me," Harris said. "So that's my plan, to try and go the other way. Usually when we all are hitting the other way, we are staying inside the ball and hitting better pitches."

Tulane head coach Rick Jones said his freshman pitcher just ran out of gas.

"It was really a good ballgame until the seventh inning," Jones said. "It was a heck of a ballgame. Then we couldn't get out of the inning.

"J.R. tired a little bit. In this ballpark versus LSU, you've got to make every pitch. I thought he gave a tremendous effort but he tired. They did a great job putting together some outstanding at-bats."

Crowel, selected the Conference USA Freshman of the Year for 2003, agreed with his coach's assessment.

"I didn't feel good at all. I didn't have it from the get-go," Crowel said. "It was by far my worst game of the year. I was missing my spots and they were hitting me hard."

Nate Bumstead gave the Tigers their second consecutive solid start on the mound. The junior from Las Vegas went 7 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

After getting seven innings from starter Jake Tompkins against Northeastern in LSU's regional opener, Laval was satisfied with Bumstead's performance deep into the game against Tulane.

"Nate did what he is supposed to do, again like Jake did," Laval said. "He just kept us close. Nate kept delivering the right pitch at the right time and got out of one big jam himself, got the guy out at home plate, struck a guy out and we got out of the inning."

The Green Wave's best chance came in the sixth inning. After shortstop Tony Giarratano singled, first baseman Michael Aubrey doubled to give Tulane runners at second and third with no one out.

Bumstead (11-2) ended the threat when designated hitter Wes Swackhamer hit a bouncer to the right side of the mound. Bumstead made the catch and threw home to retire Giarratano. He then struck out right-fielder Brian Bogusevic and got second baseman Tommy Manzella to fly out to end the inning.

"I felt like my stuff was pretty good today and when I had runners on second and third I was just trying to make the best pitch possible and not try to give up too much," Bumstead said. "I was kind of expecting something big to happen but I got fortunate and got a ground ball hit back to me and got the guy at the plate."

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