Mestepey shuts out Arkanasas in under two hours

Lane Mestepey had perhaps his most dominating performance in an LSU uniform Friday, as the Tigers took the first game of the series with Arkansas, 3-0.<br><br> Mestepey lasted all nine innings, giving up only four hits with no walks and six strikeouts, for his first career shutout.

It was the second complete game shutout for LSU (28-15, 10-8 Southeastern Conference) this season after Bo Pettit posted his own against Vanderbilt on March 15. Mestepey now has four complete games on his record this year and eight for his career.

The Tigers made short work of the Razorbacks (23-16, 7-9), finishing the game in 1 hour, 51 minutes.

"I like to work fast," Mestepey said after the game. "Actually I was trying to get out in under and hour and a half."

"How was the Lane Mestepey show tonight?" Smoke Laval joked after the game.

The win was Mestepey's sixth straight, and improved his record to 9-2 on the season, and lowered his ERA to 2.99. The sophomore left-hander showed amazing control on the mound, and seemed to never allow batters to get ahead in the count. Out of 115 total pitches, 81 went for strikes.

"Lane was outstanding out there tonight. He really had control of his stuff," said catcher Chris Phillips. "His curveball was really working well."

Mestepey seemed to be taking out his aggression on the team that shelled him for eight runs last year in Fayetteville. "Yeah that was on my mind. I thought about it some," Mestepey said.

The Tigers backed up their pitcher with some good play out in the field, with only one error. "When a pitcher's in a groove like that, we all pick up on it out in the field," Aaron Hill said.

Arkansas pitcher Charlie Isaacson (2-6, 3.21) brought a good game and was backed up well by his teammates. Isaacson gave up only seven hits, but it was enough for the Tigers to get in three runs. Shortstop Aaron Hill got things started for LSU in the first inning. After getting behind 3-0 in the count, Isaacson threw a fastball that Hill pounded over the left field fence for a solo home run.

For the most part after that, Arkansas took care of the Tiger bats with some great fielding. The Razorbacks had a defensive highlight in the fifth inning when Dustin Hahn hit a short, sharp fly ball just behind second base. Shortstop Scott Hode slid under the ball for a great catch, then got up and turned a double play by throwing out Blake Gill, who had left first base early.

"Our swings were good tonight, but they were making plays out in the field," Laval said.

LSU added their second run on a freak play in the seventh. With runners on first and second, Gill knocked a single into left field. Wally Pontiff attempted to make it home from second base but was thrown out at the plate. It seemed Arkansas catcher Cody Clark would get another out by throwing Matt Heath out at third, but he overthrew the bag and allowed Heath to score.

The final LSU run came in the eighth inning when Hill sliced a double into left field that just barely managed to stay in fair territory. The hit scored J.C. Holt to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead, with only one more at bat for Arkansas to try and get a run off the dominating Mestepey.

Perhaps the most important thing about Mestepey's performance was it allowed Smoke Laval to rest his bullpen for the weekend.

"It's good when you don't have to go to the pen. No question," Laval said.

After the game, a reporter asked Smoke if he planned on having a little fun with the spare time the game's early finished afforded him.

"Not me," he responded, "Got to get ready for tomorrow."

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