Quick start leads to sweep for LSU

The drama was not as high in the third game between LSU and Birmingham Southern compared to their first two games, but the visitors once again kept things interesting until their last at-bat. A seven-run explosion in the first inning staved off another Panther comeback in an 11-7 win for the Tigers to give them a series sweep.

Right fielder Sean Barker finished the weekend with a flourish, going 2-for-4 on Sunday with four RBI to finish the series with a .666 batting average. His single in the bottom of the first tied the game 1-1 and started a string of five hits that chased BSC starter Scott Johnson from the game.

 

LSU starter Jake Tompkins fared much better, lasting 6.2 innings and allowing five earned runs on six hits. The Panthers had cut the LSU lead to 8-5 when reliever Weylin Guidry took over finished the inning with a strikeout and sat the side in order in the eight. In between, the Tigers plated three more runs in the bottom of the seventh.

 

BSC jumped on LSU closer Clay Harris for two runs in the top of the ninth, but the Slidell freshman rallied to record three straight outs and strand two Panthers in scoring position.

 

"Tompkins did a good job. He's going to get even better," said LSU head coach Smoke Laval. "Weylin Guidry came out and did exactly what we wanted. He left the game with a lot of confidence. And even though Clay Harris gave up two runs, he did real well to come back and finish the game."

 

Of concern to Laval was the inability of his offense to follow up on its strong start to the game. After getting five hits to start the game, the Tigers managed just two over the next five innings.

 

BCS turned a leadoff walk into its first run of the game, as Connor Robertson brought in Adam Pease with a two-out single to center field.

 

LSU used the same formula in its half of the first, getting a strong single to center from Barker to bring in David Raymer, who stole second after drawing a base on balls.

 

After Wally Pontiff was walked, Aaron Hill went to center field with a single that scored Barker. Matt Heath then loaded the bases for designated hitter Eric Wiethorn with a bunt single.

 

Johnson's day ended after facing his six batters when he served up another single to center for Wiethorn that scored LSU two runs.

 

Jason Columbus, getting his inaugural start at first base, greeted BSC reliever John Crew with an RBI single and later scored when catcher Jon Prince tried to pick him off at third base, making the score 7-1.

 

The lead bolstered Tompkins, who gave up two runs in the sixth on a wild pitch and an Adam Tucker single. Fatigue started to set in for Tompkins in the seventh as he allowed an RBI double to Michael Wydner and allowed him to score on his third wild pitch of the game.

 

Guidry took over on the mound and struck out Ryan Sciacca to end the inning. He recorded two more strikeouts in sitting the Panthers down in order in the eighth inning.

 

Barker drove in another run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly and added two more RBI in the seventh with a single to left field.

 

"We're trying to get better with each game," said Barker. "I'm seeing the ball better and trying to hit line drives and ground balls."

 

Harris entered the game in the ninth and hit Michael Cline with a pitch. Cline scored stole second and scored on Pat Mizerany's single to center. Mizerany would score on Scott Asher's single, but Harris settled down to retire the next three BCS batters.

 

LSU stays at home for its next four games, welcoming Southeastern Louisiana for a game on Mardi Gras night and hosting Mercer over the weekend. The Tigers will then take to the road for their next four contests – a midweek contest at Centenary and a series with the University of Houston. 


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