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Top-Ranked Tigers Hold on to Beat UNO, 8-6

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 - 9:00pm

BATON ROUGE — LSU designated hitter Blake Dean homered in his third straight game, and the top-ranked Tigers staved off a late, ninth-inning rally by the University of New Orleans to post an 8-6 victory Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium.

With the victory, LSU (27-9) won its third consecutive contest against UNO. The Privateers (13-22) dropped their sixth straight game with the loss.

Dean’s three-run shot in the third inning was his fifth of the season. The sizzling junior has driven in 13 runs in the past four games. Freshman right fielder Mikie Mahtook also continued to swing a hot bat, collecting three hits and extending his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by any Tiger this season.

Right-hander Daniel Bradshaw (2-0) hurled five scoreless innings and allowed only two hits after relieving starter Jordan Nicholson following the second frame to register the win. UNO starter Jake Henderson (3-4), who surrendered seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in four innings, was charged with the loss.

“I thought our kids came out and played really hard tonight,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “I thought the key to the game was Daniel Bradshaw and the five innings he gave us. Not only did he give us five shutout innings, but they were very efficient innings. He threw only 45 pitches, which was tremendous.

“I thought we swung the bats really well, and if not for several outstanding defensive plays by UNO, I thought we would score 11 or 12 runs.”

The Privateers took an early 2-0 advantage in the top of the second when catcher Kyle Maldonado lined a two-out, two-run double past a diving Jared Mitchell in left field.

The Tigers responded in the third with four runs off six hits to take a 4-2 lead. Following an RBI single by second baseman Ryan Schimpf, Dean blasted an 0-1 offering over the right field wall to plate three.

After Bradshaw fired his third consecutive scoreless inning, LSU tallied three runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up, 7-2. Center fielder Leon Landry drew a bases loaded walk, and third baseman Tyler Hanover notched an RBI on a fielder’s choice and subsequent throwing error by UNO shortstop Blake Doty.

First baseman Sean Ochinko drove in an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single before the Privateers staged a late rally. UNO pinch-hitter Craig Schnell and Maldonado each drew bases-loaded walks to bring home two runs, and second baseman Tyrone Wethers singled in two more, but LSU right-hander Paul Bertuccini fanned center fielder Ryan Eden to end the surge and record his second save of the season.

LSU returns to action Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. as the Tigers face in-state rival Nicholls State at the Box. The game can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 FM), and live video and audio will be available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.