Mainieri Records Win No. 500 as Baseball def. Mizzou

by Bill Franques
Bracket LSU vs. Missouri - Highlights (SECT) LSU vs. Missouri - Audio Replay Box Score +0
Mainieri Records Win No. 500 as Baseball def. Mizzou

HOOVER, Ala. –  Senior second baseman Cole Freeman collected four hits and four RBI Wednesday night, and sophomore right-hander Caleb Gilbert pitched five strong innings to lead third-ranked LSU to a 10-3 win over Missouri in the second round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The win was coach Paul Mainieri‘s 500th at LSU, as he improved his record at the school  to 500-199-3 (.714) in 11 seasons.

LSU, which was won eight straight games and 12 of its last 13 against SEC teams, improved to 40-17 on the year, while Missouri dropped to 36-22.

LSU, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, will play third-seeded Kentucky at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday. Tenth-seeded Missouri will face No. 11 seed South Carolina at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday in an elimination game.

“It was nice to get our 40th win of the year today,” Mainieri said. “We knew Missouri was going to be a tough game. I knew the key to the game would be the job Caleb Gilbert did for us. He pitched his heart out, and I knew he would. I thought he made great pitches and gave us a chance.”

Gilbert, a Hoover, Ala., native pitching in his hometown, worked five innings and limited Missouri to one run on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts, as he raised his record to 4-1.

“It was awesome, I always love coming back to the SEC Tournament,” Gilbert said. “It was a special thing for me growing up to go to all of the SEC Tournament games. I got a start here last year, and it was a good bridge to this year. The nerves weren’t there, and I could just go out and attack hitters and give our team the best chance to win.”

Missouri starter TJ Sikkema (8-3) was charged with the loss, as he surrendered six runs – five earned – on eight hits in 4.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.

Missouri opened the scoring in the top of the second inning when leftfielder Kameron Misner launched a solo home run, his seventh dinger of the season.

LSU erupted for four runs on four hits against Sikkema in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-1 lead. Centerfielder Zach Watson belted a run-scoring double to tie the contest before Freeman gave the Tigers the lead with a sacrifice fly.

Centerfielder Antoine Duplantis and first baseman Nick Coomes also contributed RBI singles in the third to highlight the Tigers’ outburst.

The Tigers added two runs in the fifth when Duplantis delivered another run-scoring single, and Coomes contributed an run-scoring groundout.

Missouri narrowed the game to 6-2 in the eighth with an unearned run against reliever Zack Hess, but LSU struck for four runs in the bottom of the frame, as shortstop Kramer Robertson lined an RBI double, and Freeman blasted a three-run homer, his second dinger of the season and the third of his LSU career.

“Sticking to our approach at the plate was a big factor tonight,” Freeeman said. “(Sikkema) was very deceptive, and he had pretty good numbers, and we took that on as a challenge. If we stick by that and execute, then we have a good chance to win.”




2017 SEC Baseball Tournament
May 23-28, 2017
Hoover Met Stadium – Hoover, Ala.
As of 8 pm CT – May 23, 2017

Revised due to postponement of Game 4 on Tuesday

Tuesday, May 23
Game 1: #11 South Carolina def. #6 Vanderbilt, 7-4 (11) – #6 Vanderbilt eliminated
Game 2: #10 Missouri def. #7 Texas A&M, 12-7 – #7 Texas A&M eliminated
Game 3: #8 Auburn def. #9 Ole Miss, 5-4 – #9 Ole Miss eliminated

Wednesday, May 24
Game 4: #5 Mississippi State def. #12 Georgia, 3-0 – #12 Georgia eliminated 
Game 5: #3 Kentucky def. #11 South Carolina, 7-2
Game 6: #2 LSU def. #10 Missouri, 10-3
Game 7: #1 Florida def. #8 Auburn, 5-4

Thursday, May 25
Game 8: #5 Mississippi State def. #4 Arkansas, 4-3
Game 9: #11 South Carolina def. #10 Missouri, 10-2 – #10 Missouri eliminated
Game 10: #4 Arkansas def. #8 Auburn, 12-0 (7) – #8 Auburn eliminated
Game 11: #2 LSU def. #3 Kentucky, 10-0 (7)

Friday, May 26
Game 12: #1 Florida vs. #5 Mississippi State, 11 a.m., SEC Network
Game 13: #11 South Carolina vs. #3 Kentucky, 3 p.m., SEC Network
Game 14: #4 Arkansas vs. Loser Game 12, ~6:30 p.m., SEC Network

Saturday, May 27
Game 15: Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 11, 12 p.m., SEC Network
Game 16: Winner Game 14 vs. Winner Game 12, ~3:30 p.m., SEC Network

Sunday, May 28
Championship Game: Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16, 2 p.m., ESPN2

All Times Central
The second game of each session will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.