March 5, 2008
BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU scored six runs - including a grand slam by Matt Clark - in the seventh inning to break open a close game, as the Michigan State baseball team dropped a 12-1 decision Wednesday at LSU's Alex Box Stadium. Senior Brandon Doherty had an RBI double and a stolen base for the Spartans, who fall to 3-6 on the season. LSU moves to 9-1.
MSU trailed 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh before the Tigers had their big inning. Three batters reached on an error, a walk and a hit batsman. A few batters later, Rene Escobar was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to push the lead to 5-1. An RBI walk by Blake Dean made it 6-1. The very next batter, Clark, launched a pitch over the left-center field wall to make it 10-1. LSU added a pair of runs in the eighth to provide the final margin.
A pair of freshmen - starter A.J. Achter and Tyler Newsome - gave good efforts on the mound. Achter (0-1) threw the first three innings, allowing three runs on three hits and keeping MSU in the game. Newsome was also effective, yielding just one run over three innings of work.
The Spartans scored an unearned run to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning. With one out, sophomore Chris Roberts lofted a fly ball to right. The ball hit Leon Landry's glove and fell to the ground. Jones followed with a single, and Doherty doubled to score Roberts.
LSU struck for three runs in the bottom of the third. After a two-run homer by Dean, Jared Mitchell hit an RBI single to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, LSU got an RBI single from Escobar to push the lead to 4-1.
Senior Justin Potes doubled and Roberts walked to put a pair of runners on in the sixth, but MSU couldn't get anything across.
Clark finished 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs. Dean had two walks, three RBI and two runs. Ryan Byrd pitched five innings, allowing just the one unearned run, to earn his first win of the season.
The Spartan conclude their nine-game road trip with a three-game tournament at Rice. MSU will take on Western Carolina on Thursday, March 6 before playing Rice and Creighton on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Freshman Seth Williams made his first career appearance, getting one out in relief in the seventh inning...Senior Kyle Kunkel also made his first appearance of the season, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning...Potes hit his team-leading third double of the season. Two other players - Steve Gerstenberger and Jonathan Roof - have two doubles each...The Spartans will take a timeout from their spring trip to take a tour of Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros, during this weekend's play in Houston. The team will be the guest of Astros owner/CEO Drayton McLane Jr., who is this year's MSU Baseball Alumnus of the Year.