Bats heat up for LSU as USC falls 10-3

After being held in check by the South Carolina pitching staff in game one, the LSU bats came to life on Saturday as the Tigers hammered out nine runs with three homers en route to a 10-3 win over the Gamecocks. The loss by USC forces a rubber match on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for the series. For more information, continue reading below.

South Carolina coach Ray Tanner had been saying all season that his freshman pitchers needed to face stiff competition to ready themselves for the tough SEC schedule ahead.

Saturday, freshman Adam Westmoreland got that baptism by fire treatment as he allowed seven runs over five innings and LSU laid claim to game two of the series 10-3.

"They're a great hitting team. They've always been a great club. We knew going in that they could swing it a little bit. It's just some of the mistakes, they're a mistake hitting team sometimes," Westmoreland said. "They put mistakes in play every time."

The Tigers (16-5, 3-2 SEC) used two singles, a sac fly and an error to jump on the boards early with a 2-0 lead in the first inning. USC responded over the next two innings by scoring one run in each to tie the game up a 2-2. Jackie Bradley's leadoff double put a runner on for DeAngelo Mack who singled him in during the first. In the second Jeffery Jones' leadoff walk allowed Andrew Crisp to notch an RBI single later on.

However it wouldn't take LSU long to respond as leadoff man Jared Mitchell knocked a solo shot to right field that gave the Tigers the lead for good at 3-2. For Westmoreland (2-1), it was just his first home run given up this season.

The damage got worse the following inning as a leadoff single by the SEC's batting average leader Sean Ochinko allowed catcher Micah Gibbs to earn two RBI on a home run over the rightfield wall that added plenty of insurance for LSU. Ryan Schimpf followed suite by hitting a home run in LSU's next at-bat making it the first time in Westmoreland's career he can remember giving up back-to-back homers.

"It wasn't my best day ever. It was pretty bad, didn't go as well as I thought it would. Everybody has a bad outing sometimes," Westmoreland said. "It felt like (the innings) were just dragging on. It felt like they got a hold to me there after about the third inning, I guess when they hit the two home runs back-to-back."

That would be all the run support Tiger pitcher Louis Coleman (5-1) would need as he went on to mow down the USC lineup. Coleman came in with an astounding 0.40 ERA and 32 strikeouts in eight appearances this season. In seven innings of work against the Gamecocks (14-5, 2-3 SEC) he allowed just seven hits while striking out eight. The third, fourth and fifth innings each went 1-2-3 for Carolina.

"We knew Coleman was going to be difficult to get to and we had some good at-bats against him but we knew we had to keep the thing close because he probably wasn't going to allow a big inning which is exactly what happened," Tanner said. "They could swing the bats and they were able to tack on some runs. It was hard to mount anything against Coleman."

The only offense USC could scratch in the later innings came in the seventh when Crisp hit a solo home run to start the inning making the score 8-3. But LSU answered with a run in each of the next two innings to ensure the win.

"They came out swinging the bats. I mean you can't really defend when people get base hits so they did a couple good things," Crisp said. "We battled back quick though. They put up two, we up two. And then it was kind of frustrating where they just kind string some at-bats together and got some hits."

The Gamecocks and Tigers will meet in the rubber match on Sunday for the series win. Carolina needs the win to return to .500 in SEC play and win their first conference series of the year.

"We came out yesterday and got a big win. They came out today and got one. We'll see what happens tomorrow," Mack said.

NOTES:

-Andrew Crisp's home run in the seventh inning gives USC at least one home run in 18 of their 19 games this season. It was Crisp's second straight game with a homer and fifth overall.

-DeAngelo Mack was caught stealing twice making him 2-for-5 on the season.

-The 10 runs given up are the fifth time an opponent has hit double figures against USC this season.

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