Alex Bregman collected three hits and five runs batted in to lead LSU to an 11-1 victory against Vanderbilt in a Southeastern Conference tournament first-round game Wednesday morning at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium.
HOW THEY SCORED
Vanderbilt first inning - Dansby Swanson doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Xavier Turner. Swanson scored on a single by Bryan Reynolds. VANDERBILT 1, LSU 0
LSU first inning - Mark Laird doubled and advanced to third on a ground out to the second baseman by Bregman. Laird scored on a ground out to the shortstop by Chris Chinea. VANDERBILT 1, LSU 1
LSU fourth inning - Conner Hale doubled. After Danny Zardon struck out, Christian Ibarra walked. Hale and Ibarra moved up a base on a wild pitch by Jared Miller. Andrew Stevenson struck out. Hale scored and Ibarra went to third on a wild pitch by Miller. Laird walked and stole second. Ibarra and Laird scored on a three-run homer over the leftfield fence by Bregman. LSU 5, VANDERBILT 1
LSU fifth inning - McMullen doubled. McMullen was thrown out at third on a bunt to the pitcher by Scivicque. After a double by Hale, Scivicque scored on a ground ball to the second baseman by Tyler Moore. LSU 6, VANDERBILT 1
LSU sixth inning - Stevenson singled and moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Laird. Stevenson scored on a sacrifice fly to the leftfielder by Bregman. Laird stole second and scored on a single by Jake Fraley. LSU 8, VANDERBILT 1
LSU seventh inning - Hale singled. After Moore flied out to the centerfielder and Ibarra struck out, Stevenson singled. Hale and Stevenson scored on a triple by Laird. Bregman drove home Laird with a double. LSU 11, VANDERBILT 1
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Second inning - Scivicque singled and was forced at second on a ground ball to the third baseman by Hale. Zardon popped out to the second baseman. Hale advanced to second on a single by Ibarra. Stevenson struck out.
Third inning - With one out, Bregman singled. Bregman moved to second on a ground out to the second baseman by Chinea. McMullen walked. Scivicque forced out Bregman with a ground ball to the third baseman.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Bregman was 3-for-4 with five RBIs. He had the hit which broke open the game - a 3-run homer in the fourth which put LSU on top 5-1. The home run was Bregman's sixth if the year - the same as he had in 2013. Bregman drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth and gave the Tigers their 10-run advantage with a double in the seventh. Bregman's other hit was an infield single in the third. Bregman has hit safely in five consecutive games during which time he is 11-for-23 with 13 RBIs.
Jared Poche picked up his ninth win of the year - the most by a LSU freshman pitcher since Lane Mestepey had 11 in 2001. Poche gave up five hits - three in the first inning. He threw his first complete game of the year - a seven-inning outing since the Tigers won by the mercy-rule in the bottom of the seventh. Poche walked one and struck out three. He retired the last seven hitters he faced. Poche would have thrown a shutout if McMullen had caught Swanson's fly ball in the first inning. McMullen got turned around on the play and dropped the ball. In three innings, Poche stranded runners in scoring position. He got John Norwood to ground out to Hale at second base with two runners on base and two out in the first. Rhett Wiseman flied out to the centerfielder Stevenson with a runner on second and two out in the fourth. With runners on first and second in the fifth, Poche got Turner to hit into a double play started by the third baseman Ibarra.
No relievers were need as Poche went all seven innings. Not using the bullpen is a huge advantage for LSU as it tries to make a run at the tournament championship. The complete game was just the third of the season for the Tigers. Aaron Nola had the other two complete games.
Coach Paul Mainieri went with his righthanded-dominated batting order against the Vanderbilt lefty Miller. Lefthanded hitters Moore and Fraley, both of whom had six-game hitting streaks, were not in the starting lineup. Scivicque was the catcher and Zardon was the first baseman. McMullen started in leftfield with Chinea the DH. The only lefthanded batters in the lineup were Laird, who hit first, and Stevenson, who batted ninth. Both Moore and Fraley entered the game when Miller was replaced by righthanded pitcher Hayden Stone. . .Laird, who had been 0-for-11 in the past two games, hit a double in the first inning. Laird stole two bases in a game for the first time in his career. He also matched his season-highs in runs and hits with three. . .Fraley extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the sixth. . .Hale equaled his season-high with three hits in a game. He had two doubles in a game for the first time this year. . .Moore drove in a run, but went 0-for-2 in two at-bats to end his hitting streak. . .After striking out twice against Miller, Stevenson had two singles. . .Chinea and Zardon were the only two starters without a hit. Both players were 0-for-2 before being replaced. . .LSU stranded eight runners, five in scoring position. The Tigers were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. . .In its current five-game winning streak, LSU has accumulated 67 runs and 76 hits. The Tigers had 15 hits against Vanderbilt. . .Miller allowed four runs and five hits in 3.2 innings. He had given up one run and four hits while pitching into the seventh inning earlier this season against LSU. . .Bregman's home run was the first allowed by Stone this season. . .Swanson had two of Vanderbilt's five hits off Poche. . .LSU has scored at least eight runs in four consecutive games against SEC opponents for the first time in three seasons. In 2011, the Tigers scored nine, eight and 15 runs against Tennessee and 17 runs against Mississippi State. . .For the fourth time under Mainieri, LSU has won its first game in the SEC tournament. On the other three occasions, the Tigers won the tournament - 2008, 2010, 2013. . .Home plate umpire Morris Hodges had to be notified by a SEC official that a ten-run mercy rule was in place. Fraley batted in the seventh before the game was stopped. He reached on an error. . .The last time LSU won a SEC tournament game by double figures occurred in 2009 when it beat Georgia 16-0. . .The Tigers are 41-14-1, while the Commodores are 41-17. The teams have split four games this season.
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
"Jared Poche set the tone today. He probably wasn't going to finish the game. I had (Nate) Fury going to the (bull)pen (in the seventh inning). This was one of those days where we swung the bats well. Our guys feel like they can hit anybody right now. Bregman's swing today was like lightning. I was kind of scared for their defense. We are peaking at exactly the right time."
"(Miller) threw me five straight sliders (before the home run). Sure enough, he threw another slider. We came with the approach of getting on base and putting together quality at-bats. In the first game against (Miller), I was out on my front foot. We let the ball travel a lot more this time."
"Tying the ball game up (in the first inning) was huge. I was able to go out there and throw strikes. Then, we put some more runs up on the board. Anyone can pitch with a lead like that and a defense behind you."
LSU will play Arkansas in a winner's bracket game Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Tigers took two of three games from the Razorbacks this season. Aaron Nola (9-1) will be starting pitcher for LSU. The Tigers' game against Arkansas will be broadcast on CSS/CST.