Tigers take series - top UCF 13-6

LSU belted a season-high three homers, and freshman left fielder Blake Dean finished 3-for-3 with three RBI as the Tigers rolled past Central Florida, 13-6, on a blustery Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU (7-2) clinched its 17th straight non-conference series at home, dating back to the 2003 season. The Tigers pounded out double-digit hits for the fourth straight game highlighted by a season-high six extra-base hits.

 

"Offensively, I think it is coming together," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "The more they play, the more consistent they play and the more at-bats they see, and the better their timing gets and the better their confidence grows."

 

The Golden Knights dropped to 3-7 with Saturday's loss. UCF is winless in its six games in Alex Box Stadium.

 

LSU will send junior left-hander Kyle Beerbohm (0-0, 0.00) to the mound in the series finale at noon Sunday. Live audio and streaming video are available to members of the Geaux Zone on www.LSUsports.net.

 

Right fielder Steven Waguespack, centerfielder Jared Mitchell and pinch hitter Jordan Mayer each homered on a day where a cross wind from right to left gusted up to 40 mph. Mitchell tallied his fourth straight multi-hit game with two more hits Saturday.

 

"Those were not even home run swings," said Mainieri. "Mayer's ball was a line drive that just happened to be 200 feet in the air. It just kept carrying. Mitchell, they pitched him inside and he got the bat head out. Waguespack, his just kept carrying as well."

 

Senior southpaw Clay Dirks (1-0) turned in an impressive outing in his first start of the season. Dirks overcame a bee sting on his thumb in the first inning, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings of work. He walked none and struck out seven on 91 pitches.

 

"Clay did a great job, and he pitched like I think he is capable of pitching," said Mainieri. "He threw a lot of strikes and kept them off balance. He made his defense work for him, which they did do."

 

UCF held a brief 1-0 lead after scoring a run in the top of the first before LSU answered with three runs in its half of the frame. Second baseman Buzzy Haydel drew a leadoff walk, and two batters later Dean drilled an RBI double into the left field corner.

 

Wise followed with an RBI single and took third on a throwing error by right fielder Ryan Richardson. Designated hitter Jason Lewis brought Wise in on a fielder's choice.

 

Dean made it a 4-1 advantage in the second with his second RBI on a single through the middle.

 

Dirks surrendered a run in the top of the third when shortstop Eric Kallstrom guided a solo homer over the left field wall to close the gap to 4-2.

 

LSU poured on six runs through the middle innings courtesy of a pair of homers, starting in the sixth. Shortstop Michael Hollander walked, Haydel singled, and Mitchell crushed his first career homer -- a three-run shot off the top of the "Intimidator" billboard in right field -- to increase the lead to 7-2.

 

Waguespack got in on the barrage with a two-run blast over the right-centerfield wall in the fifth. For Waguespack, it was the fourth homer of his career and first since May 12, 2006 at Florida. 

 

The Tigers manufactured another run in the sixth, again with the tandem of Mitchell and Dean. Mitchell dropped a single into shallow centerfield and was awarded third on an error. Dean then tallied his third RBI with a sacrifice fly into deep right-centerfield.

 

Meanwhile, Dirks settled in and closed with three scoreless frames between the fourth and sixth before giving way to freshman right-hander Chris Sorce to start the sixth.

 

Sorce and reliever Paul Bertuccini worked a scoreless seventh and eighth.

 

Mayer put the finishing touches on the win with a pinch-hit, line-drive two-run homer over the centerfield wall in the bottom of the eighth.

 


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