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Schimpf, Tigers Surge Past McNeese

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 10:14pm

Second baseman Ryan Schimpf homered and drove in four runs as the fifth-ranked Tigers defeated in-state foe McNeese State, 6-3, Wednesday night at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (15-4) won their fourth straight contest against McNeese State (9-9). LSU now leads the all-time series against the Cowboys 22-9.

“We won the game with pitching and defense tonight,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We did get a few timely hits, but these kids are not going to go out there and score 15 runs every game. We just don’t have that kind of offensive team.”

LSU starter Ryan Byrd was impressive in his first start of the season, firing eight strikeouts and allowing no runs on only three hits in 4.2 innings of work.

McNeese State starter Ross Olson (0-2) held the Tigers hitless through the first three innings until first baseman Sean Ochinko laced a double to deep left field to lead-off the LSU half of the fourth. Blake Dean followed with a single to right and advanced to second on a throw to the plate, while Ochinko held at third.

Catcher Micah Gibbs followed Dean’s single with a sacrifice fly to deep right field that scored Ochinko and put the Tigers up 1-0.

The scoring continued when the next batter, Schimpf, singled up to right to score Dean and make the score 2-0 in favor of LSU.

McNeese went ahead in the sixth inning when designated hitter Ryan Brauninger hit a three-run homer to left off LSU reliever Daniel Bradshaw (1-0) to go ahead 3-2.

The Tigers tied the score 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth when third baseman Tyler Hanover singled to lead-off the inning and later scored on a throwing error by Olson, who was trying to pick off Dean at first base.

Later in the inning Schimpf blasted a three-run homer over the wall in right field to put the Tigers ahead 6-3. It was Schimpf’s third homer of the season.

Bradshaw was credited with the win, his first since May 9, 2008 against Mississippi State.

LSU reliever Paul Bertuccini had a solid outing when he entered the game in the seventh inning, holding the Cowboys scoreless on only two hits, while striking out four.

Freshman Matty Ott got the first save of his college career when he closed out the ninth, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out one.

The Tigers will travel this weekend to face SEC opponent South Carolina beginning Friday at 6 p.m. CT.