LSU rallies for big win over Wave

No. 8 LSU posted its second consecutive come-from-behind win Tuesday night, using a sacrifice fly by left fielder Steven Waguespack in the eighth to break a tie and edge 12th-ranked Tulane, 4-3, before 4,711 fans at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (14-2) snapped the Green Wave's 13-game winning streak against in-state teams. Tulane (10-5) had won four out of the last five meetings at "The Box". 

 

LSU entered Tuesday night fresh off a 5-3 comeback victory over Houston on Sunday. The Tigers scored four runs in the eighth inning Sunday to win that series.

 

Waguespack finished a 2-for-2 night with a sacrifice fly off reliever Daniel Latham on an eight-pitch at-bat in the eighth inning. Shortstop Michael Hollander and designated hitter J.T. Wise delivered back-to-back homers in the sixth and collected two hits apiece.

 

"It is definitely good to be on the winning side of this game, especially after Sunday's game," said Waguespack. "To turn around and do the same thing, it shows that we never quit." 

 

Green Wave starter Brandon Gomes (1-2) suffered the loss after holding the Tigers scoreless through the first five innings. Gomes, who defeated LSU in Baton Rouge last season, gave up eight hits and four runs.

 

LSU reliever Chase Dardar (2-0) picked up the win with 1.2 innings of scoreless work, which included a pressure-packed ninth. 

 

Dardar spelled starter Louis Coleman in the eighth. Coleman scattered eight hits over a season-high 7.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), walking one and striking out five.

 

"He (Coleman) was much better than his last outing," said head coach Smoke Laval. "He showed that he can pitch at the Division I level."  

 

Coleman surrendered his fourth homer of the season in the third as second baseman Brad Emaus crushed a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats for a two-run homer. Emaus' blast scored centerfielder Nathan Southard, who reached on a leadoff double.

 

Gomes baffled LSU through the first five innings, holding the Tigers to a single by first baseman Jordan Mayer in the second and a single by Waguespack in the fourth. Both were leadoff hits but Gomes managed to retire the side each time.  

 

Coleman settled down through the middle innings, pitching around leadoff singles in the fifth and the seventh.

 

LSU finally broke through in its half of the sixth highlighted by back-to-back homers off Gomes. Centerfielder Bruce Sprowl ripped a leadoff single through the middle. Hollander then connected on his second homer of the season, sending a line-drive homer into the left field bleachers to tie the game at 2-2. 

 

Designated hitter J.T. Wise wasted little time in putting the Tigers in front, touching Gomes for his first career homer over the identical spot where Hollander's landed. It was the first time the Tigers have homered in consecutive at-bats since hitting four in a row against Arizona State on March 11, 2005.

 

"I think this whole year, when we hit it comes in bunches," said Hollander. "Bruce got it started that inning and a little chain of hits followed. We ended up scoring off of it."

 

Coleman turned in a gutsy effort over his last two innings, including a critical double play ball to end the seventh. The freshman seemed to be on his way to retiring the side in the eighth, but Emaus reached on a one-out error by third baseman Will Harris.

 

First baseman Mark Hamilton ended Coleman's night with a sharp single to right. LSU, the SEC leader in fielding percentage, then made its second error of the inning that allowed the Green Wave to bring in the tying run. 

 

Dardar forced a routine double play groundball off the bat of right fielder Warren McFadden that was misplayed by Hollander at short, allowing Emaus to score from second. Dardar retired the next batters to keep the game tied at 3-3.

 

LSU responded in its half of the inning, sparked by a leadoff single from Sprowl. Hollander atoned for his error with a sacrifice bunt and Wise singled to put runners at the corners. Waguespack then turned in a superb at-bat off Latham, sending a sacrifice fly to center after fouling off balls repeatedly. 

 

Dardar pitched around two walks in the ninth, getting Southard and Emaus to end the game on fly outs.  

 

"It's how you win it -- with quality at-bats and a couple of arms coming through for us," said Laval. "Delivering a pitch when you had to or getting a fly ball when you have to, that's how. Every win is a great win for us, especially for this type of club to build on that momentum."


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