Tigers take two from Bama in twin bill

The Tigers must have figured one good turn deserves another as they took the second game of their double header with Alabama, 6-5. Only whereas game one was another stunning pitching performance by Lane Mestepey,game two was a much uglier affair.

Brian Wilson picked up the win for LSU in the second game of the afternoon.  He lasted 5 innings, giving up 8 hits, 4 runs, walking 3 and striking out 5.  Jake Tompkins also picked up his fourth save of the season.

There was action in the second inning, but it wasn't the kind Tiger fans wanted.  Matt Heath was called out at first on a very close play and proceeded to throw his batting helmet in frustration, prompting first base umpire Al Davis ejected him.  That brought LSU coach Smoke Laval out of the dugout to talk to the umpire.  This brought third base ump Tony Maners over, and he quickly ousted Laval as well.  Alex Box stadium erupted in an explosion of boos, and fans in the bleachers near third would dog Maners for the rest of the game.

"Matt Heath did not say anything to (Davis)," Laval said of Heath's ejection. "He could have thrown (his helmet) in the dugout.  He was mad at himself."

The Crimson Tide opened the scoring in the third.  Peter Stonard's single up the middle brought in Adam Pavkovich and Alabama took a 1-0 lead.  LSU quickly responded in the bottom of the inning.  Tide pitcher Jefferey Norris balked trying to hold Jonathan Zeringue at first base, which brought in David Raymer from third to knot the game at 1.

The Tigers added to their lead in the fourth. With two outs, Dustin Hahn (who was in to replace the ejected Heath) hit an RBI triple. Raymer then got on base after being hit by a Norris pitch. Catcher Chris Phillips then hit a three-run homer right at the base of the scoreboard. Suddenly, the Tigers found themselves with a 5-1 lead.

"That was my one hit all day, but thank god it was there," Phillips said.

LSU couldn't breathe easy, however, as Alabama began to close the gap in
the sixth. Travis Garner brought in a run with a single, and Scott McClanahan later brought in two more with a double to the gap in left center field.  LSU quickly moved to stop the rally.  Clay Harris and Jason Vargas each faced one batter before Jake Tompkins came in and got the Tigers out the inning with the score still 5-4.

Sean Barker added a run with an RBI single in the seventh. It would be needed insurance, as Alabama continued to inch closer in the eighth when a sac fly by Stonard brought in Allen Rice.

It did little to shake up Tompkins, though.  The junior right-hander closed out the game giving up three hits, two walks and striking out three.

"It's nothing new," said Tompkins of Bama's attempted comeback.  "I
just had to focus and get out of the jams."

"We were never really nervous," Barker said of the Tide's rally. "We knew we had Jake Tompkins.  I'm glad he's in the pen."

The Tigers pulled out the win despite having only six hits and committing three errors.  LSU showed great resilience however, with five of their six runs coming with two outs.

"They out hit us, almost by twice as much, but we just had some really timely hits," Phillips said .

"You have to forget how you start.  It's how you finish, Laval said. "We held our
poise.  That's a sign of a good club."

LSU broke a scoreless tie in the first game with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was all the offense Mestepey (W, 10-3) needed for his second complete game shutout of the season.

Wally Pontiff led off the inning with a double to the right field corner and scored when Barker followed with a single to center. Heath and Blake Gill followed with singles of their own, with Gill's scoring Barker for a 2-0 LSU lead.

The final run for the Tigers came when Raymer scored Heath with a one-out base hit. Gill was thrown out on the play trying to make it from first to third.

Outside of the five hits in the seventh, the Tigers only recorded three singles against Alabama starter Lance Cormier. Pontiff's double gave LSU its first runner in scoring position for the game.

Cormier (L, 9-3), a Lafayette native, retired the first nine LSU batters he faced with J.C. Holt breaking his string with a single to lead off the fourth inning. Holt would be the only Tiger to get multiple hits against Cormier, who hung around to complete the game with five strikeouts and three walks.

Mestepey settled in after allowing two singles in the Alabama's first at-bat. The sophomore left-hander retired the side in order five times and pitched out of a ninth-inning jam to end the game.

Jeremy Brown's two-out single put runners at first and second for Alabama and brought the potential tying run to the plate. But after working Brent Boyd to a 2-2 count, Mestepey got the Tide first baseman to strike out swinging to end the game. Out of the 108 pitches Mestepey threw, he put 71 over for strikes. He finished the game with five strikeouts and no walks.




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