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|Mahtook, Coleman put LSU in CWS driver's seat|
OMAHA, Neb. -- Homers by centerfielder Mikie Mahtook, shortstop Austin Nola and designated hitter Blake Dean, as well as a solid performance by starter Louis Coleman, paced No.1 LSU to a 9-1 victory over Arkansas in the second round of the College World Series Monday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The Tigers (53-16) extended their winning streak to 12 straight games and will play again Friday at 1 p.m. CT against the winner of Wednesday's elimination game between Arkansas (40-23) and Virginia (49-14-1).
Friday's game will be televised on ESPN 2. It will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats can be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net.
Coleman (14-2) threw six innings, allowing one run on six hits while walking three and striking out seven. The senior from Schlater, Miss., became LSU's first 14-game winner since Patrick Coogan posted 14 victories in 1997.
"I know I say it every time he pitches, but Louis Coleman is a great competitor," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "He is going to give us his best effort every time he takes the mound. Maybe he didn't have electric stuff to start the game, but by the middle innings, he was tremendous. He got better and stronger as the game went on, and we gave him plenty of run support.
"I'm very proud of the way our entire team played tonight. I had the feeling we would play well because I sense a focus and demeanor within our team that is a coach's dream. We'll take a few days off now and get ready for Friday."
Righfielder Jared Mitchell and second baseman DJ LeMahieu led LSU offensively with three hits apiece. LeMahieu became the first player in LSU history to record back-to-back three-hit games in the College World Series.
After LeMahieu led off the game with a single and stole second and Schimpf walked, centerfielder Mikie Mahtook blasted a three-run homer to left to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Mahtook's homer was the first by an LSU freshman in the College World Series since Mike Fontenot homered against Texas on June 10, 2000.
The Razorbacks responded in the bottom of the frame with back-to back hits by Ben Tschepikow and Scott Lyons. First baseman Andy Wilkins knocked in Tschepikow from third with a sacrifice fly to left to make the score 3-1.
LSU increased its lead to 4-1 in the second when LeMahieu laced a two-out single to right and then scored from first on a double by Ryan Schimpf, which went over the head of Arkansas centerfielder Colin Kuhn.
The Tigers' four runs came off of right-handed starter Brett Eibner, who only lasted 1.2 innings, allowing five hits. Eibner was replaced by right-hander TJ Forrest, who came in and struck out Micah Gibbs to retire LSU in the second.
After another double by Tschpikow and walks by Wilkins and second baseman Bo Bigham, Coleman struck out pinch hitter Jacob House with the bases loaded to end the Arkansas threat in the third.
LSU got back on the board in the sixth when shortstop Austin Nola belted a solo homer over the left field wall, putting the Tigers ahead 5-1.
Later in the inning, designated hitter Blake Dean launched a two-out, two-run homer to deep left off Forrest to give LSU a 7-1 advantage. Right-hander Sam Murphy came on in relief for Forrest after Dean's homer.
With a 3-2 count and two outs in the sixth, right fielder Jared Mitchell ripped a single to left that scored Gibbs and Mahtook after Arkansas leftfielder Chase Leavitt's throw to third got by Zack Cox. Mitchell advanced to third on the play and LSU took a 9-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
Daniel Bradshaw came on in relief for Coleman in the seventh and threw two innings, allowing no runs on two hits while walking none and striking out two.
Nolan Cain closed out the game for LSU in the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Men's College World Series Notes – Game 6 – June 15, 2009
LSU 9, Arkansas 1
Attendance: 23,417 (2009 Series Total-137,874; 2009 Avg.- 22,979)
LSU is off until Friday at 1 p.m. and will meet the winner of Wednesday's game between Arkansas and Virginia.
Arkansas will play Virginia Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Virginia is the home team)
LSU (7-0) and Arizona State (6-0) are the only two unbeaten teams in NCAA Tournament play. No team has gone undefeated in the NCAA Tournament since the MCWS Championship Series was established in 2003. The last team to go undefeated in the NCAA Tournament was Miami in 2001.
This is the first time since the 2005 MCWS (Florida/Tennessee) that two SEC teams have met in the MCWS and the ninth straight season of at least one matchup between schools from the same conference.
17 of the last 19 champions have opened MCWS play with a 2-0 record.
The Tigers have now won a season-high 12 consecutive games following tonight's win and have not lost since a 4-1 loss to Vanderbilt in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on May 21.
LSU is now 48-22 all-time against Arkansas. In the regular-season series in Fayetteville, LSU was held to five runs or less in all three games.
With tonight's win, LSU now has a national-best 53 wins on the season (Arizona State is 2nd with 50 wins).
With the win, the Tigers are now 32-19 (.627) in 15 MCWS appearances and is 2-0 in the MCWS for the first time since 2000.
LSU is now 2-0 in the MCWS for the seventh time in program history (2009, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1993 and 1991). In all five previous national title seasons, the Tigers have started the MCWS 2-0.
The Tigers are now 7-0 in the NCAA Tournament, hitting .348 as a team and averaging 8.3 runs per game in that stretch. LSU has nine or more runs five times in the NCAAs.
With three homers tonight, LSU upped its season total to 99, the most among the MCWS teams, and are now 23-3 when hitting at least two homers in a game.
Eight of LSU's nine runs on Monday have come in two-out situations, as LSU was 9-for-18 with two down on Monday.
With tonight's win, Louis Coleman now has 29 career wins, moving into a tie with Ben McDonald (1987-89) for eighth place on LSU's career wins list. Coleman is now 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two starts against Arkansas, allowing eight hits and striking out 13 over 15 innings.
Coleman improved to 14-2 on the season and is tied second nationally in wins with Kansas State's AJ Morris. Coleman's 14 wins ranks fourth on LSU's single-season list and are the most wins by a Tiger pitcher since Brian Tallet had 15 wins in 2000. Only three LSU pitchers (Paul Byrd, Curtis Lesanic and Tallet) have won more games in a season than Coleman in 2009.
Coleman's 121 innings pitched is the most by a Tiger pitcher since 2002 (Lane Mestepey, 142.1 IP).
Coleman has thrown in all five of the Tigers' games at the College World Series over the past two seasons.
Coleman is now 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in four NCAA Tournament appearances this season, fanning 21 and walking three over 22.2 innings.
With his two RBIs tonight, Blake Dean moved into sole possession of sixth place on LSU's career RBI chart with 187, passing Clay Harris, who had 185 RBIs between 2002 and 2005. Dean also belted his 43rd career homer and is in sixth place on LSU's career list in that category.
Ryan Schimpf is now hitting .462 (12-for-26) with three homers and 10 RBIs in LSU's seven NCAA Tournament games.
LSU is now 26-1 this season when scoring at least nine runs in a game.
LSU is now 26-3 when scoring in the first inning, outscoring its opponents 63-31 in the opening frame.
With today's loss, Arkansas falls to 7-11 all-time in its six Men's College World Series appearances.
Arkansas saw its six-game win streak snapped and suffered its first loss of the postseason.
Arkansas starter Brett Eibner threw 39 pitches during the first inning and went just 1.2 innings against LSU. It was his shortest outing since lasting 1.1 innings at Centenary on March 10.
Andy Wilkins extended his hit streak to eight games and is hitting .586 (17-for-29) with four homers and 18 RBIs in the NCAA Tournament.
Jacob House went 2-for-3 on Monday and is hitting .667 (4-for-6) in limited duty in the NCAA Tournament.
Arkansas falls to 18-14 against ranked opponents this season.
All 11 runs in Arkansas' two games have been driven in by three players (Scott Lyons, Andy Wilkins and Zack Cox).
Arkansas is now 16-15 when a starter goes less than five innings.
Arkansas is now 2-8 when scoring two runs or less this season.
NCAA Men's College World Series
Game 2: Virginia vs. LSU Post-Game Press Conference Quotes
Hall of Fame Room, Rosenblatt Stadium
Saturday, June 13, 2009
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri:
(opening statement): "I thought it was a really outstanding effort in a lot of ways... I had a feeling [we'd come out and play well today]. These kids are focused, they're balancing focus and energy. It's a coaches' dream right now the way these guys are conducting themselves... They're a very confident group right now."
(on the consistency of his team's offensive attack): "Our pitching has been pretty consistent all year, as well as our defense. Our hitting at times has been awesome and at times not so good. Tonight, you saw what we're capable of... It seemed like just about everybody was throwing up some good at-bats tonight. When we're clicking, we're a good offensive team one through nine."
(on his team's long at-bats): "I think Ryan Schimpf's [13-pitch] at-bat was one of the better ones of the year. I think that really set the tone for the game... Schimpf's at-bat where he battled really set the tone and said that we weren't going to back down from this team."
LSU pitcher Louis Coleman:
(on his struggles in the early innings): "Just coming in, Arkansas was battling really hard and taking good pitches right off the plate."
LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook:
(on his three-run home run in the first): "He tried to sneak a fastball by me and I fouled it off, then I was looking for the slider because he'd thrown it in a couple of times in the at-bat. He threw the slider and left it up a little bit. I put a good swing on it and got enough of it."
LSU DH Blake Dean:
(on the balance of youth and experience on this team): "Too have such a veteran team and then to have these young guys step up. Mahtook and the rest of the young guys bring the fire, while the veterans tend to go with the flow. When [Mahtook] hits a home run, he almost takes your arm off. As veterans, we try to calm them down while the young guys bring the fire."
(on scoring all nine runs with two outs): "Two-out hits is how you win ballgames. When you get [Coleman] nine runs, it's going to be hard to lose the ballgame."
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn:
(opening statement): "You just have to give credit to (starting pitcher) Louis Coleman. He was outstanding. They had a three-run home run with two outs. They scored another run in the second inning with two outs. We felt we were still in the game. We were getting runners on, just not driving them in. The good thing is we get another chance to redeem ourselves on Wednesday. We were down 4-1 with the bases loaded, and we didn't get the hit. We didn't even hit the ball hard. If we get the hit, we're right in there. We have been getting that hit. You just have to give credit to Coleman."
(about not closing out LSU hitters: "They did a good job fouling off pitches. They did a good job of getting Brett's (Eibner) pitch count up."
Arkansas shortstop Ben Tschepikow:
(on bouncing back from the loss): "We'll bounce back. We've bounced back all year. We'll have a good practice tomorrow. We've battled all year. This team has character, and we're still capable of winning."
(on what is tough about facing LSU's Coleman): "His arm delivery is tricky, it's a little deceptive. He comes at you and makes you beat him, it's tough."
Arkansas first baseman Andy Wilkins:
(on Coleman's pitching tonight): "He was locating well. He threw on both sides and it caused us problems up and down."
(on the team bouncing back): "We've bounced back a lot. This is just a speed bump. We're going to look at Virginia now and hopefully move on to play LSU again."
(Report courtesy lsusports.net)