March 11, 2011
Baton Rouge, La. - Austin Nola's bases-loaded single tied the game and a catcher's interference call with Mason Katz at the plate a batter later brought home the winning run as No. 16 Louisiana State came from behind to beat No. 6 Cal State Fullerton 7-6 Friday night in a non-conference baseball game at Alex Box Stadium.
The Titan saw their 6-game winning streak snapped in their first trip to LSU's new ball park and first trip to Baton Rouge since the 1998 South II Regional. The Titans fall to 8-4 on the year. Louisiana State improves to 13-1 in 14 home games.
The attendance for the series opener was 11,738 - the second highest total at LSU this season.
Fullerton scored once in the sixth and 3 times in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead going into the eighth inning, but LSU stormed back with 4 runs in the bottom of the frame. Jimmy Dykstra (2-0) earned the win in relief with a 1-2-3 top of the eighth and Matty Ott became the Tigers' all-time saves leader by closing it out in the 9th with his third save of the year.
Titan starter Noe Ramirez (2-2) was touched for 6 runs (4 earned) over 7.0 innings of work and took the loss. It was the most runs he has allowed since his last appearance of the 2009 season at the College World Series (7 runs vs. Arkansas). The Titan junior surrendered just 6 hits and struck out 9, but 3 errors - two in the Tigers' 4-run eighth - led to at least 3 LSU runs.
LSU scored twice in the first as an unsettled Ramirez hit leadoff hitter Trey Watkins and then threw the ball into center on Raph Rhymes' sac-bunt attempt. Both runners eventually made their way home on a Tyler Hanover single and a Katz sacrifice fly to put the Tigers up 2-0 after one inning.
They tacked on another in the third with a perfectly placed push bunt between Nick and Noe Ramirez with runners at the corners. The bunt was ruled a hit and it brought home Hanover from third who was aboard on his second hit of the day.
The Titans were fortunate that the Tigers too struggled with their defense. Back-to-back fielding errors led to an RBI-groundout by Carlos Lopez that cut the Tiger lead to 3-1.
LSU Starter Kurt McHune worked six innings and held the Titans to just three hits while striking out four, but was replaced in the seventh by Chris Cotton. The lefty gave up three single with one out in the seventh, leading to 3 Fullerton runs. Michael Lorenzen had a pinch-hit RBI single, Richy Pedroza extended his hitting streak to eight games with and RBI-single slapped to left, and Lopez singled to right to drive home the go ahead run and make it 4-3.
Ramirez retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh and Dykstra did the same in the top of the eighth. But LSU roared back by sending 9 men to the plate, scoring 4 times. A pair of singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases with no one out. Ramirez was replaced with reliever Dylan Floro who was greeted by Nola who hit a grounder that went for a hit by Nick Ramirez whose view was blocked by the runner crossing in front of him, scoring the tying run.
The next batter Katz clipped Titan catcher Jared Deacon's glove on a swing that was called a catcher's interference forcing home the eventual game-winner.
Grant Dozar then hit a 2-run pinch-hit RBI-single to left to put LSU up 7-4 going into the ninth inning.
The Titans clawed its way back in in the last frame off Ott with Pedroza and Anthony Trajano each singling. Nick Ramirez hit a ball to second baseman JaCoby Jones that went through the fielder's legs, but Trajano and Jones collided thereafter sending both to the ground injured.
Once the dust settled, Jones was ok and returned to his position. Trajano was called out for obstruction and was helped off the field despite arguments from the Titans' coaching staff.
The next batter Lopez then sent a shot over centerfielder Mikie Mahtook's head that went for a 2-run double to get the Titans within one run. Ott then retired Tyler Pill on a groundout that evened the all-time series at 4-4.
Hanover's 3 hits led all players. Katz's 3 RBI led the way for LSU.
Pedroza, Deacon and Lopez each had 2 hits for Fullerton. Lopez's 4 RBI led all players.
The two teams will play game No. 2 of the series Saturday afternoon at Noon Pacific Time. Tyler Pill will be on the mound for Cal State Fullerton.