Tigers handle Georgia

Senior right-hander Louis Coleman worked eight innings to earn his seventh win of the season Sunday, and freshman rightfielder Mikie Mahtook delivered a two-run homer in the sixth to lift No. 2 LSU to a 7-5 win over top-ranked Georgia at Foley Field.

LSU (23-8, 8-4 SEC) clinched its eighth consecutive SEC series victory with Sunday’s win, and the Tigers have not lost a conference series since April of 2008.


Georgia fell to 25-5 overall, 8-4 in conference play with Sunday’s loss.


“I’m so proud of our players for the great effort they gave this weekend,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I thought we really improved as a team against a great Georgia ball club. Georgia really brought out the best in us, and I thought it was an outstanding weekend for the Tigers.”


Coleman (7-1), who threw 24 pitches in relief during Friday night’s win, started the game on Sunday and worked eight innings, allowing five runs on eight hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. Coleman’s seven victories is the No. 1 total in the SEC.


“It’s hard to put into words what Louis Coleman means to our program,” Mainieri said. “What a courageous outing he had today; he was truly magnificent against one of the top teams in the nation.”


LSU led 7-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning when Mainieri inserted closer Matty Ott into the game in relief of Coleman. Ott struck out designated hitter Joey Lewis to start the inning before third baseman Colby May lined a single to left.


Ott fanned shortstop Levi Hyams for the second out, but second baseman Michael Demperio’s infield single kept the Bulldogs alive. Ott, however, struck out pinch hitter Zach Cone on a 3-2 pitch to end the game and earn his sixth save of the season.


“Matty Ott again displayed tremendous poise on the mound,” Mainieri said. “I have all the confidence in the world in that kid, and he came through again with a clutch performance.”


LSU trailed 5-4 in the top of the sixth when the Tigers rallied to take a lead they would not relinquish. Georgia right fielder Chase Davidson dropped a one-out fly ball by LSU shortstop DJ LeMahieu for a two-base error to start the comeback. After centerfielder Leon Landry lined out to Davidson, Mahtook launched a two-run blast off of reliever Will Harvil to give LSU a 6-5 advantage.


The Tigers added a run in the eighth on third baseman Tyler Hanover’s RBI single against reliever Jeff Walters.


Harvil (2-1) was charged with the loss as he allowed two unearned runs on one hit with no walks and one strikeout.


LSU opened the scoring in the first when leftfielder Jared Mitchell singled against UGA starter Justin Grimm and later scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Micah Gibbs.


The Bulldogs responded with two runs in the bottom of the first as first baseman Rich Poythress lined an RBI double and catcher Bryce Massanari launched a solo homer, his fourth dinger of the series.


LSU grabbed a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fourth as Landry drilled a run-scoring double and Hanover plated two runs with another double off of Grimm.


Centerfielder Matt Cerione’s three-run homer in the fifth off of Coleman allowed Georgia to reclaim the lead at 5-4.


Grimm, the UGA starter, was charged with four runs on four hits in 4.2 innings with four walks and three strikeouts.


LSU plays host to Grambling State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers return to SEC action next weekend at Alabama.

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