POSTED: Monday, April 27, 2009 - 5:16am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm
LSU third baseman Tyler Hanover delivered a three-run homer, and right fielder Jared Mitchell collected three hits to lead the sixth-ranked Tigers to a 7-6 victory and SEC series sweep of Auburn Sunday afternoon in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU (33-12, 14-7 SEC) moved into a first-place tie with Georgia in the SEC overall standings following the Bulldogs’ loss to Ole Miss Sunday. Auburn fell to 25-19 overall and 8-13 in the conference despite a five-hit performance from shortstop Casey McElroy.
Hanover’s dinger, which came with two outs and runners in scoring position, was his fourth on the year. The freshman is now batting a robust .522 with two outs and runners in scoring position this season.
In addition, second baseman DJ LeMahieu and center fielder Mikie Mahtook each finished with two hits, and catcher Micah Gibbs and first baseman Buzzy Haydel drove in one run apiece on RBI doubles.
Right-hander Daniel Bradshaw (3-0) recorded his third win of the season, hurling 2.1 innings out of the bullpen and giving up two earned runs. Freshman Matty Ott tallied his 10th save on the year as the freshman surrendered only one hit and gave up no runs in 1.1 innings.
The Tigers also received a big spark from sophomore Chad Jones, who made his collegiate pitching debut out of the bullpen. The southpaw entered at a critical juncture in the eighth inning, and after giving up a single, he fanned two lefties with the bases loaded.
“Tyler Hanover gave us the big hit of the game when we were down 4-2,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He hit the three-run homer to give us the lead. Daniel Bradshaw did a pretty good job for a couple of innings there, but he kind of lost it in the eighth inning, so I pulled out the secret weapon (Jones).
“Once Chad started showing that he could throw strikes with his fastball, I felt really confident he could do the job. If he could get to an advantage count, I knew he could throw that slider, which can be a wicked pitch to left-handed hitters, and he just did a tremendous job.”
LSU notched two runs in the second to take an early 2-0 lead. Following a single by Mahtook and a walk to Gibbs, Haydel lined a double down the third base line to drive in a run. Left fielder Ryan Schimpf drove in another two batters later on a grounder to second.
Auburn struck back in the third with two runs to tie it at 2-2. First baseman Hunter Morris launched a two-run homer over the right field wall.
The Plainsmen scored two runs in the fifth to go up, 4-2 when LSU right-hander Paul Bertuccini hit left fielder Brian Fletcher with the bases loaded, and third baseman Wes Gilmer drew a walk in the next plate appearance.
However, Hanover put the Tigers back on top, 5-4, in the bottom of the frame with a three-run dinger to left. Mahtook followed with an infield single, and Gibbs drove him in with a double off the wall in right center to give the Tigers a two-run lead.
Auburn strung together three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out in the sixth, but LSU reliever Daniel Bradshaw retired the next two batters to pitch his way out of the jam and preserve the 6-4 advantage.
The Tigers added a run in the sixth as LeMahieu came through with a clutch, RBI single with two outs to bring home Mitchell.
After Jones’ back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded in the eighth, Auburn was able to close the gap with a two-run single by Fletcher off of Ott to cut the lead to 7-6, but Ott kept the Plainsmen off the scoreboard in the ninth to preserve the victory.
Ott forced second baseman Justin Hargett to ground into a 4-6-3 double play with one out and runners on first and second to end the game.
LSU returns to action Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) with a home game against in-state rival Tulane.