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2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 9- LSU 11, Ole Miss 2
Hoover, Ala. - HOOVER, Ala. – Sophomore right-hander Kevin Gausman earned his 10th win of the season Thursday, and second-ranked LSU pounded out 17 hits en route to an 11-2 victory over Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament at Regions Park.
LSU improved to 43-15 and advanced to the quarterfinal round at 3 p.m. Friday against the loser of Thursday’s Kentucky-Mississippi State game. Ole Miss (35-24) was eliminated from the tournament with Thursday’s loss.
The LSU game on Friday will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast and Cox Sports Television, and it can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network.
LSU’s 17-hit attack was paced by senior third baseman Tyler Hanover, who recorded a career-best four hits and scored two runs. Hanover has 269 career hits and moved into a tie for 10th place on the LSU all-time hits last.
Catcher Ty Ross, making his first start since undergoing an appendectomy on May 12, delivered two hits and two RBI and senior shortstop Austin Nola collected three hits, three runs and one RBI.
Reserve catcher Jordy Snikeris came off the bench to add a two-run homer and a two-run double for the Tigers.
Gausman (10-1) limited the Rebels to two runs on seven hits in seven innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Ole Miss starter Tanner Bailey (2-2) was charged with the loss as he allowed three runs on seven hits in three innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
“I really like the way we approached the ball game today after yesterday’s loss (to Mississippi State),” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “There was no sulking and no one was hanging their head. We came to the park with a lot of energy and a determination to extend our stay here. We love playing in Hoover and we’d like to stay here for as long as possible.”
LSU struck for two runs on four hits in the first inning as first baseman Tyler Moore delivered a sacrifice fly and Ross lined an RBI single.
Ole Miss narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the second as centerfielder Auston Bousfield doubled and scored on a single by catcher Will Allen.
The Tigers plated a run in the third when rightfielder Mason Katz walked, moved to second on a single by leftfielder Raph Rhymes, advanced to third on
Moore’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Ross’ groundout to second base.
LSU extended the advantage to 4-1 in the sixth when Hanover singled, moved to second on centerfielder Arby Fields’ sacrifice fly, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a squeeze bunt by designated hitter Grant Dozar.
Ole Miss centerfielder Auston Bousfield ripped an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, reducing LSU’s lead to 4-2.
The Tigers, however, exploded for five runs in the top of the eighth against Ole Miss relievers Aaron Greenwood and Dylan Chavez, sending 10 men to the plate. Nola ripped an RBI double, Snikeris blasted a two-run double, Rhymes contributed an RBI single and Moore lined a run-scoring single to highlight the uprising.
Snikeris’ two-run homer in the ninth, his third dinger of the season, accounted for the final margin.
2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
Regions Park • Hoover, Ala.
Game 9 • Thursday, May 24
(1) LSU 11, (9) Ole Miss 2
• With the win, LSU moves to 43-15 on the season while Ole Miss falls to 35-23. The Tigers will play the loser of Kentucky and Mississippi State tomorrow at 3 p.m. in an elimination game with the winner moving on to the semifinals. Ole Miss is eliminated from the SEC Tournament.
• This was the highest-scoring game so far in the 2012 SEC Tournament. The last time a team scored at least 11 runs in an SEC Tournament game was LSU in a 16-0 win over Georgia in 2009. The last time teams combined for at least 13 runs in a tournament game was an Ole Miss 10-7 win over Auburn in 2010.
• With 11 runs in today’s game, LSU outscored every other team’s two-game total for the tournament to date. The Tigers’ 17 hits today were also more than seven of the other nine teams have collected so far in the tournament. LSU had at least one hit in every inning except the seventh.
• For the first time so far in the 2012 SEC Tournament, there have been more overall hits (137) than strikeouts (132). Coming into today’s game, there had been 118 strikeouts and 112 hits in the first eight tournament games.
• LSU SS Austin Nola has now reached base safely in 14 consecutive games. Nola was 3-for-5 to tie the team lead with 15 multi-hit games, including his fifth three-hit game.
• LSU OF Mason Katz reached on a bunt single in the first to extend his current hitting streak to eight games and his reached-base streak to 14 games.
• Ole Miss 2B Alex Yarbrough picked up his 90th and 91st hits of the season in today’s game. He remains second in the SEC in hits behind Raph Rhymes of LSU. He is also second in the conference in batting average. It also marks his 28th multi-hit game of the year.
• LSU OF Raph Rhymes singled in the third inning for his 95th hit of the season as he continues to put distance on the rest of the field with his nation-leading .468 batting average. Rhymes drove home his 50th RBI of the year to move third in the conference in that category. It was Rhymes’ 33rd multi-RBI game of the year.
• LSU C Ty Ross drove in his 36th and 37th runs to put the Tigers ahead. This marks his eighth multi-RBI game of the season. He added his second hit of the game in the fifth as he now has 16 multi-hit games.
• LSU 3B Tyler Hanover had the first four-hit game of his career with a 4-for-5 effort with two runs scored. It was his 16th multi-hit game of the year. This marks the third four-hit game of the SEC Tournament as Hanover joins A.J. Reed of Kentucky and Matt Snyder of Ole Miss.
• LSU SP Kevin Gausman struck out the final batter of the inning in the first three innings of the game. He also took the SEC strikeout lead back from Mississippi State’s Chris Stratton as he had seven K’s on the afternoon to go to 125 on the season. He is now ranked third in the nation in K’s.
• Gausman also picked up his 10th win, which is second in the SEC behind Stratton’s 11 and tied for fourth in the nation. In 15 starts, Gausman has pitched at least 7.0 innings or more in nine of them including a seven inning, eight strikeout performance while only giving up two runs off seven hits.
• RF Tanner Mathis of Ole Miss singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
• Cody Snickeris came on as a pinch hitter for LSU and ripped a two RBI double to left center for his 14th and 15th RBI of the season and his second multi-RBI game of the year. He then smacked a two run home run in the ninth to earn a career high four RBIs on the day. In 72 at bats, Snickeris has three home runs.
• LSU RP Chris Cotton made his SEC leading 31st appearance of the season.
LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri
““Obviously it was a big win for us. It was either win or go home. We didn’t want to go home; we love Hoover a lot. We love the Wynfrey (Hotel). We love the mall. We especially love the police escorts on the way to practice at Hoover High School. We love playing here. I told the kids we are going to spend the afternoon either driving home to Baton Rouge or laying around the Wynfrey and getting ready for a game tomorrow. I told them it was up to them, and whatever they wanted to do we would do. There was a pretty determined group of kids in our dugout today.”
On starting pitcher Kevin Gausman…
“When Kevin Gausman gets the ball you like your chances. What you have to guard against is you can’t take it for granted. Kevin has great stuff and deserves all of the accolades he gets just based on his ability. He is a different pitcher this year. He has this innate ability to raise his game to a different level when he needs to. That is what gave me the confidence that we could win this ball game. We just needed to give him some runs and play defense behind him. We had a few good things happen early in the game. We also squandered some opportunities. I was just hoping that those would not come back to bite us. Fortunately Kevin was pretty good with his pitches. I was hoping he could give us a good seven innings. He probably could have gone longer, but after he got into the mid 90’s I thought that was plenty for today. Even before we had the big rally he was going to be coming out of the game. I thought the performance by Ty Ross today was really courageous. I think that is the best way to describe it. I have not had my appendix out. He has practiced for a couple of days. We talked late last night in his hotel room and he told me that he was ready to go and he had clearance from our trainer. The biggest reason I wanted to play him is the guy sitting next to him at the table here; I wanted him to catch Kevin Gausman. Gausman has had such a great year. It is not that the other guys can’t. Jordy Snikeris caught him earlier in the week over in Columbia and they did a good job. Those two [Gausman and Ross] work together so well and I thought it would help Kevin in his game by having Ty back there. We were able to get a couple of guys into the ball game and get to play another day.”
Kevin Gausman (Soph., P)
On his pitching game after gaining the lead…
“It is easy to pitch when you have a lead. You feel like you don’t have to go out there and strike everyone out. I knew our offense was going to go out there. We brought that to the ballpark today. That’s pretty rare, whenever you can get those runs early is nice.”
Tyler Hanover (Sr., 2B)
On staying alive in the SEC Tournament…
“Coach always says he hates to go ‘two-and-Q.’ We were playing for an elimination game today. Either stay another day or get back on the bus and drive and practice all week. Frankly none of us wanted to practice at all for the whole week. We would rather play games. It was early morning game and we had to come out fired up and ready to play. It is easy to work behind Kevin. Not only does he give you a chance to win, he works fast and always pounds the zone. You can’t ask any more from a pitcher than that.”
Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco
“Obviously, LSU’s very good, and the game got away from us at the end. I thought we competed early, pitched out of a lot of jams. The guys, (Tanner) Bailey and (Chris) Ellis and (Aaron) Greenwood, were able to get out of it. It seems like they had runners in scoring position every inning, but we were able to minimize. When you’re facing (Kevin) Gausman, one of the best in the country if not the best in the country, you can’t play like that. You have to be really clean on your side and try to keep the momentum over there. Offensively, we scored and had a couple of opportunities. I think we left one guy at third base with two outs. (Gausman) had a big strike out. He was terrific today. He handled (Matt) Snyder. It seems like the first time Snyder didn’t get a hit against LSU in his career. I thought Gausman was terrific. We hung in there there at the end, but ran out of juice, and they got a lot of big hits at the end.”
On facing Gausman and thoughts on Gausman as a top MLB Draft prospect…
“He’s as good as anybody that we’ve seen. (Chris) Stratton obviously is terrific at (Mississippi) State and has had a terrific year. Gausman’s fastball’s just explosive. It’s tough to catch up to. I thought today his off-speed stuff was terrific. He handled Snyder today with a lot of off-speed pitches and changeups and breaking balls. A guy that has that kind of fastball and lives in the strike zone on both sides of the plate is tremendous. I think his upside’s huge. He’s going to pitch in the big leagues. No doubt about it.”
On if he feels like the team is starting to see better offensive production…
“I do. Yesterday, I thought we did a better job. Of course, we only scored two runs, but I thought we gave ourselves more opportunities, had some better swings. Today, as has already been said, against Gausman, I thought we did have some good swings. To watch a freshman (Bousfield) swing like that, to watch Alex (Yarbrough) swing like he did today, it was real good that some guys were swinging better. Of course, Snyder’s swung it well all year and continues to swing it well. I like (Zach) Kirksey. He had some good at-bats in the tournament. (Sikes) Orvis and (Will) Allen had a couple good at-bats today. We’re swinging it better. We haven’t seen the results of that, and a lot of that had to do with Gausman today. We’re better this weekend than we were last weekend, for sure.”
Auston Bousfield (Fr., CF)
On his first experience at the SEC Tournament…
“It was great. There were a lot of people that came out, a lot more than I expected. Ole Miss fans, LSU fans, it was awesome. It was definitely good experience, and hopefully we’ll be back in the next two or three years. It was fun.”
Alex Yarbrough (Jr., 2B)
On how the team feels leaving the SEC Tournament and moving toward NCAA Regionals…
“I think we feel OK as an offense. We have a lot of guys who are swinging it pretty well, but in the week leading up to the regional, we have to work on finding whatever it is to get more runs across the plate. We put more pressure on them in the first five or six innings today. Like Coach Bianco said, Gausman’s one of the best pitchers in the country. I think we’re feeling OK after today, but we just have to keep putting more pressure on the other team offensively.”