Baseball Captures Series Against Alabama, 7-3
BATON ROUGE, La. — Sophomore southpaw Nick Bush fired a career-high six innings and limited Alabama to two runs while freshman designated hitter Daniel Cabrera went 2-for-2 with four RBI and a home run to secure a 7-3 rubber match against Alabama Sunday afternoon in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
For the first time since 2003, the Tigers have won every home Southeastern Conference series, and with the win, LSU improves to 31-21 overall and 14-13 in league play. Alabama falls to 26-27 on the year and 7-20 in conference action.
The win also clinched a berth for LSU in the SEC Tournament, which starts on May 22. The Tigers are in third place in the SEC Western Division with three regular-season conference games remaining at Auburn next week.
LSU will return to action with a game against Northwestern State Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT at “The Box” for the final regular season home contest. The game will be online only through the SEC Network+, and it can also be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio network. Live audio and live stats will be available at LSUsports.net.
Bush (1-1) earned the win after limiting the Crimson Tide to five hits, and two runs, one earned. He struck out two and walked one.
“I made no bones about it with our team before the game, today was absolutely critical,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We needed to win this series to keep our chances alive for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. We didn’t clinch anything by winning today, we still have a lot of work to do, but at least we’re still in the fight and we can see the finish line.
“I’m just so proud of Nick Bush. It’s not an overstatement to say he saved our season today. I had all the confidence in the world in him. He’s proven to me over and over how mentally tough he is and what a winner he is.”
Freshman Devin Fontenot was the first Tiger out of the bullpen. The right-hander fired two no-hit innings and struck out one. Sophomore Todd Peterson entered to pitch the ninth, and he allowed one run on two hits and walked one to close out the game.
Alabama starter Garret Rukes (1-3) suffered the loss for the Crimson Tide. The freshman southpaw allowed two runs on three hits, struck out two and walked one in 2.2 innings of action.
Cabrera led LSU’s 10-hit attack with a two-run homer, a double and four RBI.
The game marked the final appearance in an SEC regular-season home game for three LSU seniors – leftfielder Beau Jordan, catcher Nick Coomes and first baseman Austin Bain. They were honored – along with Beau’s twin brother Bryce — prior to the game in LSU’s annual Senior Day ceremony. Bryce Jordan is a fourth-year junior and has one year of eligibility remaining.
Beau Jordan, the Tigers’ lead-off hitter, was 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and one run; Coomes contributed a double and played solid defense behind the plate; and Bain launched a solo homer to tie the game 1-1 in the second inning.
“When these kids leave your program, part of you as the head coach leaves with them,” Mainieri said. “You get to know them so well, and then all of a sudden, their career is over and there’s a void in your life. There are some special kids in this group, and I’m so happy they were part of an important win today.”
In the top of the second inning with two outs, Alabama catcher Sam Praytor scored on first baseman John Trousdale’s double to center field after reaching earlier in the inning on a fielding error to give Alabama the 1-0 lead.
The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the second when Bain sent a home run into the left field landing to lead off the inning.
LSU extended its lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning with a two-out rally when Beau Jordan singled through the left side and Cabrera blasted an opposite field home run, his seventh dinger of the season.
With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Alabama left fielder Keith Holcombe hit a solo home run to left-center, cutting LSU’s lead to 4-2.
The Tigers answered with a three-run inning in the bottom half of the frame to take the 7-2 lead. With one out, Coomes doubled to left-center field. Hunter Feduccia entered to pinch run for Coomes and scored after Slaughter ripped a single through the left side.
The bases were loaded for Cabrera after back-to-back base knocks by shortstop Hal Hughes and Beau Jordan, and the freshman unloaded on a booming double to right field, driving in Slaughter and Hughes.
In the top of the ninth Trousdale led off the inning with a triple to right field and scored in the next at-bat when shortstop Jett Manning doubled to right, but the game ended when Peterson retired the Tide on a couple of fly-outs and a groundout.