Matulis Helps LSU Top McNeese

Catcher Micah Gibbs' solo homer in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winning hit as No. 1 LSU defeated McNeese State, 2-1, on a chilly Wednesday evening in Alex Box Stadium.

With the win, LSU (4-0) captured its fifth-straight victory over McNeese State in the series. The Cowboys suffered their first loss of the season and are now 3-1.

The Tigers will be back in action this weekend when they host William & Mary in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium.

In his first appearance of the season, sophomore left-hander Chris Matulis (1-0) threw five brilliant shutout innings in relief, allowing only four hits while walking none and striking out five.

“Chris is a young man with a lot of ability, and he demonstrated that tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I thought his performance was the real story of the game.

I thought it was a well-played game, and I have to give a lot of credit to (McNeese State coach) Terry Burrows and his team; they are a very solid program that gave us everything we could handle.”

First baseman Blake Dean led the LSU offense, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI single, which came in the fifth inning and gave LSU its first run of the game. Designated hitter Matt Gaudet secured his third multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.

McNeese State reliever Zach Butler (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up the homer to Gibbs. Butler pitched only the eighth inning and allowed two hits. McNeese State sent a total of seven pitchers to the mound during the game.

The Cowboys got out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when third baseman Steven Irvine bunted for a base hit, stole second and later scored on a sharp double down the third-base line by right fielder Lee Orr.

LSU starting pitcher Daniel Bradshaw did not allow a hit in his next two innings of work. The junior right-hander pitched 3.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Matulis replaced Bradshaw to start the fourth inning and made quick work of the Cowboys, retiring the side in order with the help of two strikeouts.

The Tigers tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Dean singled home Trey Watkins from third. Watkins had walked and reached third on a single by Austin Nola. The RBI-single was Dean’s third hit of the game and his ninth RBI of the year.

No runs crossed the plate for either team in the next three innings until Gibbs led off the eighth inning with a solo homer that landed in the right field bleachers. 

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