Vandy Topples LSU

Vandy wins the series with 8-4 victory over the Tigers on Mother's Day at the Box.

Vanderbilt relievers Tyler Rhoden and Nick Christiani limited No. 25 LSU to a run on three hits in the final five innings Sunday as the Commodores captured the final game of the SEC series, 8-4, at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (33-19, 12-15 SEC) lost a series for the first time in three tries but remained in eighth place in the overall league standings. Mississippi State and Tennessee lost its games on Sunday and are tied for ninth place with 11-15 records.

Vanderbilt (30-22, 14-13) improved its chances for a spot in the eight-team SEC Tournament with its first series victory in Baton Rouge since 2002. The Commodores are tied for sixth with South Carolina heading into their final regular season series.

LSU travels to Metairie, La. to face top-ranked Rice in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at 7 p.m. Tuesday before closing its regular season slate at Florida next weekend. Senior right-hander Chris Cahill (1-0, 1.74) will start against the Owls Tuesday, marking his first starting assignment since a 7-2 victory over UNO on April 26.

Shortstop Ryan Flaherty and pinch hitter Kurt Lipton provided pivotal solo homers for Vanderbilt on Sunday, as the Commodores finished the series with seven total dingers. Vanderbilt entered the weekend with only 10 homers in SEC play.

Vandy's heart of the order --  Flaherty, catcher Brian Hernandez and designated hitter Shea Robin -- combined to go 7-for-14 with six RBI.

Rhoden (3-0) was credited with the win in 1.1 innings of relief of starter Ty Davis. Christiani was equally impressive, holding the Tigers to one hit in the final three innings to pick up the save.

LSU held a 1-0 lead through two frames thanks to J.T. Wise's solo homer in the first, but the Commodores countered with three in the third inning.

Starter Daniel Forrer walked third baseman Brad French to lead off the third. Two outs later, the southpaw's outing was finished after issuing three consecutive RBI singles to Flaherty, Hernandez and Robin, giving Vanderbilt a 3-1 lead.

"We had our chances, but we can't be walking lead-off hitters early," said Laval. "Then you have to rely on the bullpen, which is thin right now due to injuries."

LSU tied the game in the fourth with back-to-back two-out homers from designated hitter Steven Waguespack and first baseman Jordan Mayer.

For Waguespack it was his second blast of the season and his first since March 3 against Houston.

But LSU reliever Edgar Ramirez allowed the first three batters to reach in the fifth, and Hernandez capped the rally with a two-run single off Jonathan Wilhite to give Vanderbilt the lead again, 5-3.

The Commodores added single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, including solo homers by Flaherty and pinch hitter Kurt Lipton.

Christiani retired nine of the 12 batters he faced and never let the Tigers mount another comeback.

"When you get a team that pitches really well, it is very difficult to bunch hits together," said Laval. "I think we only got two hits in one inning once in 27 innings."

Ramirez (2-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on one hit, while walking two in 1.1 innings of relief.

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