Tigers try to avoid sweep

Florida broke open a scoreless game with a three-run sixth inning, and the Gators added five more runs en route to an 8-4 series-clinching win over LSU on Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (28-23-1, 11-14-1 SEC) fell to 2-8-1 against Southeastern Conference Eastern Division teams on the year. LSU has lost four of its five home league series.

Florida (27-25, 14-12) won a regular-season SEC series in Baton Rouge for the first time in school history.

Sophomore left-hander Ryan Byrd (5-1, 4.34) will try to salvage the series finale for LSU at 1 p.m. Sunday against Gator freshman right-hander Billy Bullock.

Florida got its second straight quality pitching performance on Saturday as junior Bryan Augenstein (6-5) allowed no earned runs on eight hits in 7.2 innings of work. The right-hander held the Tigers hitless from the third through sixth innings while walking none and striking out seven.

LSU starter Charlie Furbush (3-8), who allowed seven runs in the sixth and seventh innings combined, surrendered a total of eight hits while walking four and striking out three.

"Charlie Furbush was great for five innings, but we just couldn't get him any runs," said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri.

All four of the Tigers' eighth-inning runs were unearned. Shortstop Michael Hollander went 2-for-4 with an RBI. LSU's first four batters -- Jared Mitchell, Nicholas Pontiff, Blake Dean and Hollander -- each collected an RBI.

Augenstein and Furbush engaged in a pitcher's duel until Florida took the lead with three runs in the sixth. Third baseman Jon Townsend was hit by a pitch and two batters later, right fielder Brian Leclerc collected the first of his three hits with an RBI double down the right field line.

Centerfielder Jonathan Pigott laid down a squeeze bunt that plated Leclerc. Catcher Hampton Tignor accounted for the other RBI with a single to centerfield.

Furbush fell into trouble again in the seventh, issuing back-to-back doubles to shortstop Cole Figueroa and Townsend. After Matt LaPorta was intentionally walked for the third time, Leclerc blasted a three-run homer into deep right field to five the Gators a 7-0 advantage they would not relinquish.

LSU mounted a valiant rally in the top of the eighth, plating four runs to cut the deficit to three and bringing the tying run to the plate. All four runs would be unearned as the Tigers capitalized on a Townsend error, allowing pinch hitter Steven Broschofsky to reach first base.

Mitchell started the uprising with an RBI single to centerfield. Pontiff drove in a run on a run-scoring groundout. Dean then doubled down the left field line, and Hollander drove him in on a bloop single.

Pinch hitter Jordan Mayer came to the plate representing the tying run, but the junior flied out to right field to end the inning.

"We showed a little life there late in the game, but obviously it was a little too short," said Mainieri. "We have to bounce back tomorrow and hopefully win a game. Hopefully, we will get some help out there and find our way into the (SEC) Tournament."

Florida reliever David Hurst held the Tigers scoreless for the final 1.1 innings, allowing just two hits.

Florida 8, LSU 4 (May 12, 2007 at Baton Rouge, La.)

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Florida............. 000 003 401  - 8 13  1      (27-25, 14-12 SEC)
LSU................. 000 000 040  -  4 10  0      (28-23-1, 11-14-1 SEC)
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Pitchers: Florida - Bryan Augenstein; David Hurst(8). LSU - Charlie Furbush; Nolan Cain(7); Shane Ardoin(9); Paul Bertuccini(9).
Win-Bryan Augenstein(6-5)  Loss-Charlie Furbush(3-8)  T-3:03  A-7674
HR UF - Brian Leclerc (3).
Furbush faced 4 batters in the 7th.
Ardoin faced 3 batters in the 9th.


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