March 5, 2008
BATON ROUGE, La. - An eighth-inning rally by LSU pushed the Tigers past an inspired Michigan State baseball team, 5-3, Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium. The game was tied 3-3 when LSU's Michael Hollander hit a two-run single to center. Freshman infielders A.J. Shindler and Tyler Newsome had big days for MSU, as Shindler went 2-for-4 and Newsome went 3-for-5. The loss drops the Spartans to 3-5, while LSU moves to 8-1.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, freshman reliever Kurt Wunderlich retired the first two batters of the inning before D.J. LeMahieu reached on a fielding error. The next batter, Sean Ochinko, got hit by a pitch, and the two runners reached scoring position on a wild pitch. Hollander worked the count to 2-2 before sending a line drive to center to score LeMahieu and Ochinko. Both runs were unearned.
Each team scored a run in the second inning, as Johnny Lee singled and scored to put MSU up 1-0. LSU answered when LeMahieu singled home Leon Landry to tie the game 1-1.
LSU took a two-run lead in the sixth. Blake Dean led off the inning with a walk, and Matt Clark followed with a bloop single to left. That chased Dunn, who gave one of his best efforts as a Spartan. Sophomore Kyle Corcoran came on and walked Matt Gaudet to load the bases with no outs. D.J. LeMathieu then slapped a single through the right side to score two runs and put the Tigers up 3-1.
The Spartans tied the game in the top of the eighth, as Eric Roof led off the inning with an infield single, and he moved to second on a sac bunt by Brandon Doherty. Roof moved to third on a groundout by Jones and he scored on the single by Day.
Dunn, a junior right-hander, allowed two runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked two, lowering his ERA by nearly six runs in the process. It was his first start of the season.
"The difference for me tonight compared to some of my other outings where I wasn't as successful is that I threw strikes and got ahead of hitters," Dunn said.
Wunderlich (1-1) took the loss, allowing two unearned runs over 2.1 innings. He struck out four and yielded just one hit. Wunderlich has yet to allow an earned run in 7.2 innings of work this season.
Each team couldn't capitalize on chances to take control early in the game.
In the bottom of the third, LSU loaded the bases with three straight singles only to come up empty-handed. Clark, the No. 4 hitter in the Tiger lineup, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Spartans had a strong chance of their own in the top of the fifth. Hits by Shindler and Newsome and a walk by Lee loaded the bases, but MSU couldn't push a run across. Eric Roof hit a sharp line drive that was snagged by LeMahieu at short to end the inning.
The Spartans and the Tigers will finish their two-game set Wednesday at 4 p.m. (ET).