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May 22, 2009

Box Score

Hoover, Ala. – Louis Coleman hurled eight-plus innings and allowed just one run and closer Matty Ott came on to close and escaped a bases loaded jam with no outs as LSU defeated South Carolina 4-1 in an elimination game on Friday night at Regions Park. LSU improves to 43-16 on the year while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 38-21 for the season. The Gamecocks now await word on the selection of the 64-team field for the 2009 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The 16 regional site selections will be announced at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 24 at and on the Bottom Line of the ESPN Networks. The field of 64 will then be announced on Monday, May 25 at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN and at

Carolina made things interesting vs. Coleman in the late innings as pinch hitter Brady Thomas knocked a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that was followed by the first three batters reaching base in the bottom of the ninth to bring the potential go ahead run to the plate. Trailing 4-1 entering the bottom half of the ninth, Whit Merrifield had a leadoff single that was followed by a base hit by DeAngelo Mack and Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked to load the bases for Carolina. LSU went to the bullpen for freshman right-hander Matty Ott. The SEC Co-Freshman of the Year showed why he led the league in saves as he first struck out Gamecock cleanup hitter Nick Ebert and then would get the second out on a Jeffery Jones line out to second base. With the bags still full, Ott closed out the game with a strikeout against pinch hitter Michael Roth to give the Tigers the victory.

Coleman, the SEC Pitcher of the Year, was strong the entire night as he hurled eight-plus innings and allowed just one run on seven hits with six strikeouts to improve to 11-2 on the year. Ott retired all three batters he faced to pick up his 14th save of the season. Carolina starting pitcher Nolan Belcher was tough on the mound despite the loss for the Gamecocks. The freshman left-hander battled and yielded just two runs on five hits in six innings with four strikeouts and one walk.

It was a pitcher’s duel through five innings as both Coleman and Belcher kept both teams of the scoreboard. Both pitchers allowed just two hits through five innings of work.

The Tigers broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth inning. Blake Dean roped a one-out single to left center and scored on Micah Gibbs RBI double that found the gap in right center. After a wild pitch advanced Gibbs to third base, Mike Mahtook tallied his third hit of the game with a RBI single up the middle to put LSU ahead 2-0.

LSU added some insurance with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning. DJ LeMahieu reached base on a fielding error by Andrew Crisp at third base and after walks by reliever Adam Westmoreland to Ryan Schimpf and Blake Dean loaded the bases, LeMahieu would score on a wild pitch by Westmoreland. He would recover to get the next two outs on a strikeout and a fielder’s choice out at home plate. LSU however struck for an additional run as Sean Ochinko drove a two-out RBI single to right field scoring Dean.

It would remain 4-0 until the top of the eighth when Thomas launched his first career home run in a Gamecock uniform on a blast to right centerfield. South Carolina now has a total of 99 home runs on the season. Carolina has reached the century mark in six of the last nine seasons including last year when the team finished with 110 home runs.

For the second straight day, Carolina finished with more hits than its opponent in a loss. South Carolina’s seven-hit day included 2-for-4 games by Merrifield and Mack. Mikie Mahtook was 3-for-4 with a RBI to pace LSU’s six-hit day at the plate.