LSU Baseball opens with 4-3 win

Freshman left fielder Blake Dean provided a three-run homer in his first collegiate at-bat, and junior left-hander Charlie Furbush hurled five-plus scoreless innings on Friday night as LSU first-year head coach Paul Mainieri was victorious in his debut, 4-3, over Saint Mary's (Calif.) at a frigid Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (1-0) won their sixth straight season opener dating back to the 2002 season, despite being out-hit by the Gaels eight to six. Saint Mary's fell to 3-5 on the year with the loss.

 

Sophomore right-hander Louis Coleman is slated to start for the Tigers against freshman righty Brandon Berl (0-1, 6.94).

 

Dean, who finished 2-for-3, ignited LSU to a 3-0 lead in the first. Following a walk to shortstop Michael Hollander and a single by first baseman Sean Ochinko, Dean crushed a line-drive, three-run homer just over the right field wall in his first LSU plate appearance.

 

"You couldn't script it any better," said Mainieri. "We strike out the side to start the inning and then we hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning with a freshman."

 

The Tigers plated another run in the fifth through the benefit of an error. Designated hitter Steven Broschofsky singled to open the frame, centerfielder Jared Mitchell singled, and two batters later, second baseman Chris Jackson picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice and a throwing error.

 

SMC shortstop Joel Staples fired wildly in attempting to throw out Jackson, which allowed Mitchell to scamper in from third.

 

Gaels' junior right-hander Sean Gleason (0-1) was tabbed with loss after allowing four runs on six hits in six innings of work.

 

Meanwhile, LSU junior southpaw Charlie Furbush (1-0) enjoyed a superb debut. Furbush, a native of South Portland, Maine, fired 5.2 scoreless innings and surrendered five hits. The former Cape Cod League standout walked three and struck out seven in a 101-pitch win.

 

Furbush fanned the first five hitters he faced, which included striking out the side in the first.

 

"Charlie Furbush was outstanding," said Mainieri. "Because he struck out so many batters, it forced him to throw so many pitches. Consequently, he couldn't go deeper into the game."

 

Four members of the LSU bullpen would go the rest of the way, however, not before some late-inning drama. The Tigers took a 4-1 lead into the eighth when sophomore righty Nolan Cain issued a one-out RBI single to left fielder Kyle Jensen.

 

Mainieri then elected to go to junior righty Jared Bradford to earn the final two outs of the eighth. Bradford forced a groundout and then looked to have been out of the inning with pinch hitter Cory Miller's roller to Jackson at second. However, Jackson's throw was wide of first base, allowing Jensen to score and close the gap to 4-3.

 

Bradford retired the first batter he saw in the ninth and issued a one-out single to second baseman Randy Wells. The junior then induced a 4-6-3 double-play groundball to end the game and pick up his first save.

 

"Here we are, bottom of the ninth inning, 4-3, and you need a double play to end it," said Mainieri. "I told the kids yesterday, if you look at Saint Mary's, they've played seven games and five one-run games already. They are a good club. Any team from California is going to be a good club. In college baseball, there are a lot of teams you've never heard of that are good baseball teams."

 


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