LSU survives, forces showdown with ULL

LSU waited until its most important game of the year to end its winless streak against Louisiana-Lafayette.<br><br> Using four home runs, the Tigers never trailed the Cajuns in a 12-2 win that forced a seventh and deciding game in the Baton Rouge NCAA Regional.

Before Sunday ULL had won three straight against LSU, including a 5-0 decision on Saturday that sent the Tigers to the loser's bracket of the regional.


LSU and ULL will meet again to decide who advances to the Super Regional round. The first pitch of that game is schedule for 5:07 p.m. The Tigers will start Brian Wilson (9-4, 3.74) on the mound and the Cajuns will go with Kevin Ardoin (2-2, 4.57).


The temperatures and LSU's bats were not the only things hot at Alex Box on Sunday afternoon. Umpires ejected a player from each team and ULL head coach Tony Robichaux in two separate incidents that followed taunting from LSU left fielder Matt Heath following his home run in the seventh inning.


Robichaux and Cajuns' pitcher Doug Bair were ejected in the ninth inning when Bair deliberately threw at Heath on his next trip to the plate. LSU's Aaron Hill was ejected later in the inning when home plate umpire Randy Wetzel ruled that he intentionally let his bat slip out of his hands and into the ULL dugout.


(AP Photo/Bill Feig)

LSU left fielder Matt Heath motions toward the left field line bleachers after hitting a two-run home run in the  seventh inning against Louisiana-Lafayette. ULL players believed Heath was taunting and came onto the field after Heath crossed the plate. The Tigers won the game 12-2 to force a seventh and deciding game at the Baton Rouge NCAA Regional.(AP Photo/Bill Feig).


Since Bair was warned prior to hitting Heath with a pitch, NCAA rules state he is suspended for the next four games. Robichaux and Hill were forced to sit out one game and therefore could not participate in Sunday's second game.


"The suspension of the player who threw the bat in the dugout (Hill) is covered under the fight rule," explained umpiring crew chief Ken Eldridge, "which says any kind of abuse, which is equipment or anything else, is construed as fighting, and his suspension is one game."


But by the time Hill was thrown out, he had already helped LSU build held a 12-1 lead. His two-run homer in the top of the first inning was followed by Sean Barker's solo shot that turned out to be the winning run.


ULL starting pitcher Corey Coles (L, 5-2) had a very brief outing, getting the hook after he allowed David Raymer to lead off the second with a hard single.


The Cajuns made it a 3-1 game in the bottom of the third with an RBI single from Justin Bourque to right field. It would be the only run ULL would score against LSU starting pitcher Jake Tompkins (W, 7-1), who threw 6.1 innings and allowed seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts.


LSU got that run back in the fifth inning on a run-scoring single from Wally Pontiff, and a two-out rally in the sixth produced another run for the Tigers. It came when David Raymer doubled and Chris Phillips brought him in with a single to left field.


Heath's homer in seventh, a two-run shot to center field, came with two outs. As he made his way around the base paths, he saluted fans in the right field bleachers and continued to gesture as he rounded second and third. Cajun players objected strongly when Heath glared into their dugout and came out on the field when he crossed the plate.


That brought LSU players out onto the field, requiring umpires to restore calm before the game could resume. When it did, the Tigers got two more base runners on board but ended the inning with a 7-1 lead.


Bair's plunking of Heath in the ninth inning put two runners on for the Tigers. Danny McMurtry replaced Bair on the mound and served up a three-run homer to designated hitter Dustin Hahn. The final two runs for LSU came when catcher Dustin Welch, a late-inning defensive replacement for Phillips, hit his first career homer into the left field bleachers.


Hill's ejection forced LSU to moved Clay Harris from pitcher to third base and Pontiff from third to shortstop. Harris took over for Tompkins and held the Cajuns scoreless for 1.2 innings.


Lukas Guidroz pitched the ninth inning for LSU and, after giving up a leadoff homer to Scott Corboni, retired the next three ULL batters to end the game.

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