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Baseball: LSU holds on to beat UL, 8-6

Glenn Guilbeau, The Advertiser, April 1, 2015



LSU’s Andrew Stevenson dives back to first base as UL first baseman Greg Davis attempts to tag him out as the LSU Tigers faced the UL Ragin’ Cajuns in the Wally Pontiff Classic in Zephyr Field.(Photo: Brad Kemp, Special to the Advertiser)



No. 2 LSU powered to an 8-6 win over Louisiana-Lafayette with three home runs on Tuesday night in front of 10,853 fans – the largest crowd in the 13-year history of the Wally Pontiff Classic – at Zephyr Field.

Kade Scivicque hit a two-run home run for a 6-2 lead in the third inning. Chris Chinea hit a solo home run in the second inning for a 3-2 lead. And Alex Bregman hit a solo home run in the sixth for an 8-2 lead. The Tigers improved to 24-5 on the season against seven UL pitchers.

The Cajuns (15-11) would not go away, though, as they came back with a four-run seventh inning to cut LSU’s lead to 8-6. Brian Mills and Nick Thurmand had RBI singles. Greg Davis drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Dylan Butler added an RBI on a fielder’s choice grounder.

"UL never quit," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "We thought we had the game in hand, and they just kept fighting back. You have to give a lot of credit to their coaching staff and players."

UL coach Tony Robichaux would have preferred better pitching early on, but he feels his team will benefit from the atmosphere.

"You can’t draw up playing in front of more than 10,000 people," he said. "No doubt, you could feel it out there. It’s great for us to play in front of a crowd like that."

UL and LSU will meet again next year in the Wally Pontiff Classic, which has been played since 2003 in memory of the former Tiger who played on LSU’s national championship team in 2000 before passing away in 2002.

LSU went up 7-2 in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Mark Laird and Bregman. The two-run home run by Scivicque in the third came after Bregman delivered an RBI single for a 4-2 advantage. Chinea started LSU’s home run barrage with a solo shot that chased UL starter Connor Toups in the second inning for a 3-2 lead. Toups (1-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in one inning.

"We made a lot of mistakes early. We got the ball up," Robichaux said. "We have a young pitching staff this year. We knew we’d have to grow this staff. This is a great place to do that. But we made mistakes, and they hammered them. LSU is a lot more physical at the plate this year than last."

The Cajuns tied the game 2-2 with two in the second on back-to-back bases loaded walks by LSU starter Kyle Bouman to Robbins and Stefan Trosclair. Russell Reynolds relieved Bouman, who was uncomfortable throughout his one inning and a third outing, and got Mills to line out to shortstop Bregman, who flipped to second for a double play. Bouman allowed three hits and two runs with three walks and two strikeouts.

LSU took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Toups. Jared Foster doubled, reached third on Laird’s fly to center and scored on Bregman’s sacrifice fly to right. Conner Hale followed with a double and scored on a single by Scivicque.

Russell Reynolds (2-0) picked up the victory with four and two-thirds innings of relief for Bouman.

He struck out three and walked two.

Jesse Stallings, LSU’s fifth pitcher of the night, pitched the ninth for his 11th save.

Mills went 2-for-5 with an RBI, and Thurman went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the Cajuns got eight hits. Bregman finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs to pace LSU’s 10-hit attack.

"This is the best I’ve swung the bat in my life," Bregman said.

NOTES: UL second baseman Stefan Trosclair was named Sun Belt player of the week on Tuesday after hitting .471 (8-for-17) with four doubles and five RBIs.