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March 22, 2009

Box Score

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Fifth ranked LSU broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the sixth inning with three runs and added five more in the eighth inning on its way to an 11-3 win over South Carolina at Carolina Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers win the series two games to one and improve to 17-5 and 4-2 in the SEC while the loss drops Carolina to 14-6 and 2-4 in conference play. South Carolina returns to action on Tuesday evening at College of Charleston with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

With the game deadlocked at three apiece, the Tigers made their move in the top half of the sixth. Sean Ochinko drew a leadoff walk and Blake Dean roped a single to right center to give LSU runners on the corners with one out. Micah Gibbs gave LSU the lead with a sacrifice fly that was followed up by a two-out two-run homer from Ryan Schimpf that put the Tigers ahead 6-3. After a scoreless seventh inning, the Tigers gained some cushion with a five-run eighth inning. LSU batted around with Leon Landry driving in three with a homer and Derek Helenihi adding two more to the scoreboard with a RBI double.

LSU finished with a 14-4 advantage in hits. Helenihi, Blake Dean, Ryan Schimpf, Leon Landry and Tyler Hanover all tallied two hits for LSU. Helenihi’s 2-for-4 day at the plate included a homer and three RBI. Schimpf also drove in three runs with a homer as did Landry. Jackie Bradley, Jr. had a 2-for-3 day at the plate for the Gamecocks with a home run, RBI and two runs scored to lead Carolina.

LSU starting pitcher Austin Ross improved to 3-2 on the year with the win after working 5.2 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. LSU had a strong performance out of the bullpen with relievers Paul Bertuccini and Matty Ott retiring all 11 batters that they faced for 3.2 perfect innings. Ott earned the save and struck out six batters in three innings of work. It was his second save of the year. South Carolina reliever Parker Bangs suffered the loss and is 1-1 on the year. He allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

South Carolina had a strong start to the game building a 2-0 lead in the first three innings of play. The Gamecocks took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Bradley, Jr. led off with a home run. Bradley, Jr. stroked a 1-1 pitch from Ross for a home run the opposite way to left field. That lead increased to 2-0 in the third inning as the Gamecocks scored an unearned run off Ross. Bradley, Jr. reached base with his second hit of the day and on a one-out infield single by DeAngelo Mack, scored on a throwing error by second baseman Ryan Schimpf. The LSU second baseman attempted to get Mack out at first but the throw went wide and allowed Bradley, Jr. to round third and score.

After sailing along the first three innings without allowing a hit, South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher got touched up for three runs in the top of the fourth. Helenihi led off with a solo home run with Dean and Schimpf tallying sacrifice fly RBIs in between three more LSU hits as LSU went ahead 3-2. South Carolina knotted the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning with Whit Merrifield hitting a sacrifice fly to right field to score Bobby Haney.

Carolina’s game on Tuesday night at College of Charleston can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and is also available at South Carolina will return home on Wednesday night with a non-conference tilt with Georgia Southern. That game is also scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch.