LSU wins series with Florida - looking for sweep

The LSU Tiger Baseball team received excellent pitching peformances from Brian Wilson Friday and Bo Pettit Saturday winning their SEC opening series with the University of Florida this weekend at Alex Box Stadium. <br><br> The Tigers bounced back from a Tuesday loss at Tulane with a 9-0 win Friday evening and a series clinching 3-2 victory on Saturday afternoon. <br><br> Smoke Laval's team looks to complete the sweep Sunday at 12:30.

Game Two:

LSU 3, Florida 2

 

LSU pitcher Bo Pettit turned in the Fighting Tigers' second consecutive complete game as LSU rallied from a 2-0 deficit to clinch its Southeastern Conference series with Florida, 3-2 on Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.

 

LSU (13-7, 2-0 SEC) will look for its second consecutive weekend sweep in the series finale Sunday at 12:30 p.m.  Sunday's game will be televised in Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Network and Cox Sports Television, and the game will be available in other SEC markets on Comcast Sports Southeast. 

 

Pettit, a fifth-year senior right-hander from Houston, won his third consecutive start with his fifth career complete game, holding the SEC's top offensive team to just four hits while keeping his ERA at 1.57.  Pettit threw 82 of his 116 pitches for strikes, striking out eight, walking none and retiring Florida's final 10 batters of the game.

 

In two games in the series, Florida (15-5, 0-2), which came in to the weekend hitting .356, has mustered nine hits and two runs. 

 

LSU (No. 16 Baseball America, No. 18 Collegiate Baseball, No. 25 ESPN/USA Today), which pounded out 17 hits in Friday's 9-0 victory, could muster just three hits in five innings off of Florida starter Justin Hoyman before putting together a game-tying rally in the sixth.

 

Clay Harris' one out double and an infield hit by Quinn Stewart put runners on first and second, and then Harris moved to third on Ryan Patterson's fielder's choice ground ball to third base.

 

Patterson moved up to second on a passed ball by Florida catcher Brian Rose, and then Matt Liuzza bounced a single up the middle past the pitcher's mound to score Harris and Patterson and tie the game at 2-2.

 

Pettit retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, and LSU then made its move to score the winning run.  J.C. Holt and Aaron Hill led off with back-to-back singles, and then Gator reliever Adam Sanabria got Ivan Naccarata to hit into a fielder's choice, leaving runners on the corners with one out.

 

Sanabria walked Blake Gill to load the bases, then Harris lifted a fly ball to medium deep center field to easily score Holt with the go-ahead run. 

 

Hoyman fell to 3-1 on the year, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits in six-plus innings. 

 

Pettit held the Gators (No. 16 Collegiate Baseball and ESPN/USA Today) hitless through the game's first 3 2/3 innings until Florida's leading hitter, Ben Harrison, lined a triple into the right-center field gap.  Florida scored its first run of the series one batter later when C.J. Smith lined a single to center field that was just out of the reach of a diving effort from LSU center fielder Holt. 

 

Harrison knocked in the Gators' second run in the sixth when he doubled home Adam Dowdy, who led off the inning with a base hit and moved to second on Jonathan Tucker's sacrifice bunt.

 

-LSU Sports Information

 

 

Game One:

LSU 9, Florida 0

 

LSU kicked off Southeastern Conference play with a bang, destroying Florida in game 1 of the weekend series 9-0 behind seventeen hits and a complete-game shutout by Brian Wilson.

 

Wilson struck out 9 (a season high), allowed only 5 hits and walked 1 batter. The complete game was Wilson's first of the year and the third of his career. It was his second career complete-game shutout.

 

"Tonight I just pitched and competed," said Wilson to reporters after the game. "We jumped up two runs on them and it allowed me to get in a rhythm. I just threw strikes and I wasn't afraid to throw it down the middle. I trusted my stuff."

 

His teammates backed up Wilson with a season-high seventeen hits, including 9 extra-base hits. Aaron Hill led the charge going 4-4 and scoring 3 runs.

 

"This was an unbelievable game," said Hill. "It was a whole team effort. We kept feeding off of everybody else's hits and Brian's emotions."

 

Ivan Naccarata started the onslaught of hits in the bottom of the first. He fired a single that bounced off of Gator pitcher Connor Falkenbach's foot into left field and brought in Hill and Bruce Sprowl. It marked the sixteenth straight game the Canadian import has hit safely in.  But don't ask him about the streak.

 

"I don't like talking about it," Naccarata said to reporters after the game. "People talk about (streaks) and then they get jinxed."

 

"This game gave us a jump start on SEC play, and I think we're going to do pretty good now."

 

LSU added to its lead in the third. Naccarata again started off the scoring, bringing in Aaron Hill with a hard triple to the right-center field warning track. Blake Gill came up next and blasted a 2-run homer to right field to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Quinn Stewart added another run later in the inning with an RBI single to the far corner of right field.

 

Gill added another run in the fourth with an RBI single that brought in Aaron Hill. The hit hung in the air for a while and dropped just behind the pitcher's mound out of the reach of pitcher Tom Potter. Clay Harris singled to bring in Gill and give the Tigers an 8-0 lead.  Ryan Patterson capped the scoring in the seventh with a solo home run.

 

Throughout the hitting barrage, Wilson used great command of his slider and excellent placement and velocity on his fastball to keep the Gators, who are one of the best hitting teams in the SEC, at bay.  Florida's lineup had a .358 batting average coming in, but Wilson held them to only 5 hits in thirty-one at bats, a .161 average. Seventy-eight of his one hundred-nineteen pitches went for strikes.

 

Smoke Laval seemed to think his team drew some inspiration from the LSU basketball team, who upset the Florida Gators earlier in the day in the SEC tournament.

 

"I think our saw the intensity the basketball team had, believe it or not. They (the basketball team) had a real will to win, and maybe that had a snowball effect."

 

- Billy Gomila

 


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