Baseball Tigers Rally to Stay Undefeated

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 10:55pm

With one out and LSU down a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, first baseman Sean Ochinko blasted a grand slam — his second in two days — to lead the top-ranked Tigers to a 10-4 come-from-behind victory over Mississippi Valley State Wednesday night in Alex Box Stadium.

After falling behind 4-0, the Tigers (9-0) scored 10 unanswered runs to earn their 25th consecutive regular-season victory. The Delta Devils dropped to 2-4 with the loss.

With his five-RBI performance, the red-hot Ochinko has now driven in 20 RBI in the past five games.

In addition, catcher Micah Gibbs contributed with three hits, and the Tigers’ relief duo of Matty Ott and Louis Coleman struck out 10 batters over five shutout innings to close out the game.

“You’ve got to give our kids credit,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “They kept battling right to the very end. You win these games by hitting in the clutch, having clutch pitching and making big plays on defense, and that’s what we ended up doing in the last couple of innings tonight.”

Mississippi Valley State posted three runs off LSU right-hander Shane Riedie in the top of the second and added another in the third to take an early 4-0 lead. The margin represented the largest deficit LSU faced this season.

LSU tried to return the favor in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with no outs, but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize. After surrendering a lead-off double to left fielder Blake Dean, walking Gibbs and hitting shortstop D.J. LeMahieu with a pitch, Delta Devils’ right-hander Chris Mills registered a strike out and induced a 6-4-3 double play to pitch his way out of a jam and keep LSU off the scoreboard.

However, the Tigers struck back in the fifth with two runs to cut the deficit to 4-2. With two outs and two runners on, Delta Devils’ third baseman Greg Dees made an errant throw to first on a grounder by Dean to plate both runs.

LSU notched another run in the bottom of the sixth to continue chipping away at Mississippi Valley State’s lead. Ochinko delivered a sacrifice fly to reduce the lead to 4-3.

After Coleman struck out the side in the top of the eighth, the LSU bats erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by Ochinko’s bases-clearing dinger. Center fielder Leon Landry, second baseman Ryan Schimpf and Gibbs also drove in runs in the inning.

Coleman retired the side in the top of the ninth and recorded his first victory of the season. Mississippi Valley State’s Scott Reid (0-2) was charged with the loss.

LSU returns to action Friday at 7 p.m. (CST) for a weekend series as the Tigers host the Illinois Fighting Illini from the Big Ten Conference.