Bama turns the Tide 17-6

Second baseman Evan Bush led a 27-hit Alabama attack, going 4-for-6 with two homers and seven RBI as No. 20 LSU dropped the series finale with the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide, 17-6, on Easter Sunday at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (26-12, 6-9 SEC), who claimed the series with wins on Friday and Saturday, are in a tie for fifth place with Auburn in the SEC Western Division race.

Alabama (27-12, 10-5) is in first place in the SEC West standings, two games in front of second-place Arkansas (8-7).

LSU faces Tulane at 7 p.m. Tuesday from Zephyr Field in Metairie, before traveling to Oxford, Miss. for a three-game SEC series against Ole Miss next weekend.

Alabama's 3-4-5 hitters of DH Alex Avila, catcher Kody Valverde and Bush combined for 12 hits, 11 runs and 12 RBI on Sunday. Every Tide position starter tallied at least two hits, and four collected four hits apiece.

Six LSU pitchers combined to allow 27 hits, the most surrendered by the staff since giving up a school-record 28 hits to the Tide in a 28-2 loss on May 10, 1997.

A steady 15 mph wind out to centerfield aided fly balls all game. The teams combined for five homers and at least three more balls hit off the top of the wall.

"It happens," said head coach Smoke Laval. "I remember pitching (infielders) Russ Johnson and (Ryan) Theriot one time. I thought we had great offense. If you would have told me we had five or six runs in a Sunday game against an Alabama pitching staff, I would have taken it."

Junior right-hander Derik Olvey (6-2) suffered his second loss of the season, allowing five runs on six hits in the first.

Alabama sent to 11 batters to the plate, and the Crimson Tide's first seven hitters each pounded out hits. Five of the seven scored, and Olvey left after failing to record an out.

Centerfielder Emeel Salem doubled to leadoff the game, followed by three straight singles from third baseman Matt Downs, Avila and Valverde.

Bush then cleared the bases with a three-run homer over the left field wall. Left fielder Brandon Belcher tagged Olvey for another single, forcing Laval to make the move to freshman Darryl Shaffer. Shaffer minimized the damage after issuing a single to first baseman Spencer Pennington.

LSU faced a 5-0 deficit before it even came to the plate. The Tigers were able to chip away at the lead, countering with a three-run first against starter Tommy Hunter.

Shortstop Michael Hollander doubled down the left field line. Two outs later, second baseman J.T. Wise continued his torrid weekend with an RBI double off the top of the wall. Catcher Matt Liuzza then belted a two-run homer -- his second of the season -- into the left field seats to cut the deficit to 5-3.

However, the Tide stretched the lead again in the third as reliever Daniel Forrer surrendered five runs on two more singles from Downs and Valverde and Bush's second homer of the game, a two-run shot to the identical spot as his first blast.

LSU managed to continue the scoring barrage in the bottom of the third. Right fielder Quinn Stewart slugged his SEC-leading 16th homer of the season, and designated hitter Jordan Mayer drove Stewart in with a two-out double.

The Tigers pulled to within 10-6 on an RBI triple from Stewart in the fourth, but Alabama got two more runs in the fifth on an RBI double from Valverde and a run-scoring single from Bush -- all with two outs.

The Tide scored six unanswered runs to put the game out of reach. Valverde and Bush provided two more RBI in the seventh with back-to-back doubles. Belcher added the exclamation point with a two-run homer off Edgar Ramirez, the Tigers' fourth pitcher of the game.

Hunter (6-2) worked his final three frames flawlessly and picked up the win in seven innings of work. The right-hander scattered 10 hits and allowed six runs (five earned).

Liuzza paced the Tigers with two hits and two RBI and extended his hitting streak to a team-high seven games. Mayer tied a career-high with three hits and drove in one.

NOTE: The family of former LSU player Johnnie Thibodeaux was recognized in a ceremony before Sunday's game. Thibodeaux, a native of Lake Charles, La., died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on June 17, 2005. Thibodeaux was a four-year letterman for the Tigers from 1997-2001, and he played on LSU's 1997 and 2000 national championship squads.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories