Tigers top Cajuns

Homers by Blake Dean, Micah Gibbs and Ryan Schimpf lifted No. 6 LSU over UL-Lafayette 10-6 in the sixth-annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic Wednesday night at Zephyr Field.

The winning pitcher was Paul Bertuccini (1-0), who threw a brilliant 3.1 innings, allowing no runs on only one hit, while striking out three.

 

“Paul has meant so much to this program in the three years I’ve been associated with it,” head coach Paul Mainieri said. “The kid must have ice water running through his veins. He’s always taken the ball in pressure situations and has done a great job for us.”

 

Leading LSU offensively were DJ LeMahieu, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Dean, who went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI. The attendance of 6,601 was the largest crowd in the history of the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic.

 

LSU (30-12) took a 2-0 lead in the first when LeMahieu lined a single into center scoring Austin Nola and advancing Sean Ochinko to third. LeMahieu then forced a run-down in between first and second, allowing Ochinko to scamper home. UL-Lafayette catcher Thad Griffen couldn’t field the throw from third baseman Chad Keefer and Ochinko reached home safely.

 

Austin Ross started the game for LSU in a rare mid-week appearance. Ross threw 2.1 innings and allowed no runs on one hit, while walking none and striking out two. Freshman left-hander Chris Matulis came on in relief for Ross in third and got the last two outs in the inning without allowing a hit.

 

The Tigers took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Dean blasted a two-run homer over the right field wall. With the homer, Dean extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games. It was also the third-straight game in which Dean has homered.

 

The Cajuns got on the board in the fourth when second baseman Kyle Bostick singled in Travis Whipple to make the score 4-1.

 

In the bottom of the frame, Mikie Mahtook led off with a single, giving way to UL-Lafayette reliever Blake Haagen. The next batter, Gibbs, smashed a two-run homer off Haagen to increase the LSU lead to 6-1. It was Gibbs’ fifth homer of the season.

 

The fifth inning marked a rally for UL-Lafayette, as the Cajuns posted four runs on five hits and pulled within one run of the Tigers’ lead.

 

The outburst began when shortstop Greg Fontenot walked and Whipple followed with a two-out double to left center, scoring Fontenot.

 

Whipple scored his second run of the game when William Long singled up the middle to make the score 6-3. The Cajuns collected their third straight hit in the inning, all with two outs, when Les Smith singled up the middle to score Long and cut the deficit to 6-4.

 

After Smith’s single, LSU reliever Jordan Nicholson came in to pitch for Matulis. The Cajuns continued to rally and pulled within one run when Bostick singled home Smith to make the score 6-5. Bostick’s single was the Cajun’s fifth-straight, two-out hit.

 

Bertuccini entered the game after Bostick’s single and struck out Griffen to end the inning.

 

The Tigers responded with one run in the bottom of the frame when LeMahieu singled home Nola to make the score 7-5.

 

In the sixth, LSU went ahead 9-5 when Schimpf blasted a two-run homer over the wall in right. It was Schimpf’s 12th homer of the season, which tied his home run total from last season.

 

LSU’s 10th run came in the bottom of the eighth when Nola grounded out to second, scoring Leon Landry, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Nicholas Pontiff.

 

The Tigers will return to  SEC play this weekend when they host Auburn in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium. The Cajuns dropped to 18-20-1 with the loss.

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