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April 19, 2002

Box Score

Columbia, S.C. — Louisiana State built a 9-3 lead on two four run innings Friday night and withstood a five run ninth inning rally to edge seventh ranked South Carolina 9-8 in the first game of a weekend Southeastern Conference baseball series.

Sophomore left-hander Lane Mestepey, 8-2, got the win despite giving up 12 hits and three home runs. He needed third out help in the ninth inning from Jake Tompkins who was credited with his third save despite allowing three hits and committing an error before getting the final out. Steven Bondurant, 5-1, the South Carolina starter, suffered his first loss of the season.

LSU improved its record to 26-13, 9-6 in the conference. South Carolina dropped to 29-9, also 9-6. The Gamecock lead in the SEC Eastern Division dropped to half a game over Georgia and Florida, both Friday night winners.

South Carolina second baseman Kevin Melillo, a redshirt freshman, hit his first career home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. Mestepey retired the next two batters but Yaron Peters reached on an error and Trey Dyson hit his 11th home run of the season to cut the LSU lead to 9-6.

Tompkins replaced Mestepey and gave up a single to Garris Gonce, a double to Brian Buscher, and an RBI infield single to pinch hitter Matt Riddle wrapped around an errant pick off throw by Tompkins that allowed a run to score. Pinch hitter Gary Bell grounded back to the mound to end the game.

Shortstop Drew Meyer scored twice to give South Carolina a 2-0 lead after three innings. Meyer led off the bottom of the first inning with his fourth home run. He beat out a bunt in the third, stole second base, moved to third on an infield out and scored on a wild pick off throw by LSU catcher Chris Phillips.

The Tigers reached Bondurant for four hits and four runs in the fourth inning. Wally Pontiff doubled and Sean Barker singled him to third. Pontiff scored on a fielder’s choice that retired Barker. Matt Heath doubled to drive in a run and Jason Columbus his a two run home run, his second homer of the year.

Rocky Scelfo led off the LSU fourth with his second homer to increase the Tiger lead to 5-2. South Carolina cut it to 5-3 in the sixth on hits by Dyson, Buscher and Justin Harris but LSU answered with four in the top of the seventh. Hits by Scelfo, Barker and Heath, a walk, two wild pitches, error and a sacrifice fly did the damage. LSU led 9-3 before the ninth inning South Carolina rally.

The Gamecocks out hit the Tigers 15-12 with five of the hits coming in the ninth inning. Buscher, with three hits including two doubles, stretched his hitting streak to 11 games. Meyer also had three hits for South Carolina and Dyson, Gonce and Harris had two each.

Scelfo had three hits for LSU. Pontiff, Barker and Columbus had two. Pontiff, Heath and Eric Weithorn had doubles.

LOUISIANA STATE 000 410 400 – 9-12-3
SOUTH CAROLINA 101 001 005 – 8-15-1
Mestepey, Tompkins (9) and Phillips. Bondurant, Spigner (5), M. Campbell (7), Evans (7) and Powell, Greenwood (9). W-Mestepey (8-2). L-Bondurant (5-1). Save-Tompkins (3). 2B-LSU, Pontiff, Weithorn, Heath, USC, Buscher 2. HR-LSU, Scelfo (2), Columbus (2), USC, Meyer (4), Dyson (11), Melillo (1).