Cody Glenn and two relievers combined on a six-hit shutout as LSU defeated Alabama 3-0 in a first-round game of the Southeastern Conference tournament Wednesday afternoon at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU first inning - Sean McMullen singled and moved to third when leftfielder Andrew Miller misplayed the ball. McMullen scored on Mark Laird's ground out to shortstop. Alex Bregman doubled and Mason Katz walked. On a hit-and-run, Bregman scored and Katz advanced to third base on Raph Rhymes' ground out to the pitcher. Christian Ibarra singled home Katz. LSU 3, ALABAMA 0
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Fifth inning - Ty Ross singled and moved to second on Andrew Stevenson's ground out to second base. Ross moved no further as McMullen grounded out to shortstop and Laird grounded out to second base.
Eighth inning - McMullen walked. After Laird struck out and Bregman flied out to centerfield, McMullen advanced to second on a wild pitch by Charley Sullivan. McMullen was stranded at second as Katz flied out to centerfield.
LSU HITTING STAR
Bregman had a big afternoon in the first postseason game of his career. He had a double and two singles. Bregman's one out double in the first turned a one-run inning into a three-run inning. He showed alertness on the bases by scoring from second base on a grounder back to the mound when home plate was left uncovered. For the 13th time this season, Bregman had more than two hits in a game. He now has 12 three-hit games and one four-hit game. Bregman has now hit safely in four consecutive games. He is 7-for-18 during that stretch.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
For the third time this season, Glenn threw seven scoreless innings - the first against a SEC opponent. Glenn allowed three hits and no runs in seven-inning outings against Louisiana-Lafayette and Nicholls State. In six of his last seven starts, Glenn has given up no more than one earned run. On Wednesday, Glenn yielded five hits, walked none and struck out one. He did hit two batters. The Tide got a runner past first base against Glenn in only the seventh when Austen Smith was hit by a pitch and Brett Booth singled with two out. Glenn got Miller to ground out to first baseman Tyler Moore to end the threat. The victory improved Glenn's record to 7-2. In his last 35.1 innings, Glenn has given up just four earned runs. He has only two victories in those five starts.
Nick Rumbelow and Chris Cotton each threw an inning to complete LSU's first nine-inning shutout in the SEC tournament in 15 years. Randy Keisler shut out South Carolina 6-0 in the 1998 tournament. Rumbelow got into one-out trouble in the eighth on a single by Kenny Roberts and an error by Moore on Georgie Salem's ground ball. Rumbelow escaped the jam by getting Kyle Overstreet to fly out to Rhymes in leftfield and Ben Moore to ground out to Katz at second base. Cotton had a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his 13th save of the season. Cotton has put together six consecutive scoreless appearances. He has registered saves in four of those outings.
Under coach Paul Mainieri, LSU had split its four opening-round games in the SEC tournament. The Tigers lost their first game to Mississippi State a year ago. . .The victory improved LSU's record to 49-8. Only the 1986 team won 50 games before the start of the NCAA tournament. . .With JaCoby Jones unavailable due to his wrist injury, Katz once again played second base. He turned two double plays and handled eight chances without an error. Katz has successfully handled 21 chances at second base since Jones left the lineup. . .Five players other than Bregman had a hit - McMullen, Katz, Ibarra, Ross and Stevenson. Laird, who went 0-for-4, had his hitting streak end at five games. . .Ibarra, who singled home a run in the first, was just 2-for-20 before that hit. . .Two runners were thrown out on the bases. Bregman's hand came off the base on his slide while going from first to third on Katz' single in the sixth and he was tagged out. Stevenson was thrown out trying to steal second base in the seventh. . .The Tigers were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Sullivan, who threw a complete game for the Crimson Tide, gave up three runs and eight hits in eight innings. He only allowed two runners to get to second base after the first inning. . .LSU had four seven-inning shutouts in the SEC tournament since Keisler's nine-inning shutout in 1998. The pitchers who threw seven-inning shutouts were Kurt Ainsworth (1999/Kentucky), Jason Scobie (2001/Florida), Daniel Bradshaw (2009/Georgia) and Ben Alsup (2010/Ole Miss). . .Alabama is 33-25. The Crimson Tide will play Ole Miss in an elimination game Thursday at 9:30 a.m. . .The Tide has lost four straight SEC tournament games to LSU. . .The attendance for Thursday's afternoon session was 6,197. That's the smallest crowd for a session involving LSU in four years. The Tigers drew about 5,400 for a game against Georgia in 2009.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"It was a very well played by both teams. We had a nice first inning against Charley Sullivan. It looked like we could have a big day, but he regrouped like the great competitor that he is. I also have to tip my hat to our guy, Cody Glenn. He really answered the call and pitched a tremendous ball game for us. He was as sharp as I have ever seen him with all three of his pitches. We had a big first inning. In the end, our pitching and defense carried the day for us."
(on Alex Bregman's play) "The kid is an amazing player. Some guys just love the game and their instincts just ooze out. The kid is a great defender at shortstop and an outstanding hitter. One thing that doesn't get as much credit as it deserves is his ability on the bases. He's a tremendous base stealer, but his instincts for running the bases are great also."
(on pitching matchup against Arkansas) "If you're a fan of baseball, you'll be looking forward to this matchup tomorrow. I like to think that Aaron (Nola) is going to be a first-round pick next year. We know (Ryne) Stanek is going to be (one) this year. He's a power arm and I love our guy. He's as good as any of them. I know our hitters are looking forward to the challenge."
"We had to sit in the bus for a bit because of the extra innings (Arkansas-Ole Miss game), but we were just so excited and ready to compete. We put together some great at-bats and our whole team throughout the game had a great outing. We jumped out early and that gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of the game.
(on Cody Glenn's performance) "Cody has done that for us all year. He sinks his fast ball so he gets a lot of ground balls. So, we're always awake. That's a tribute to Cody. He does a good job with that and keeps us all up in the game. It's really easy to play defense behind him."
"Our team had the mentality all year long that everything we've done in the past is in the past. Every day is a new day. We want to win this tournament. It doesn't matter what we have done in the regular season. None of that matters. We want to win."
(on Alex Bregman) "He's a playmaker. He looks for reasons to help us win and he finds them everywhere possible. Today he had three hits like usual. But if he doesn't (get three hits), he finds other ways to win. He's so smart. He knows the game and does everything that people don't expect or even notice. That's why he helps us win. Even if he has a bad day, offensively or defensively, he helps us win."
"I was really excited to pitch the opening game of the SEC tournament. I had some butterflies at the beginning of the game. It was an exciting atmosphere. The field is great and the mound is perfect. We are trying to play our best and win every game. Nobody likes to lose. This tournament is for bragging rights. You never want to go on the field and concede a game."
LSU will play Arkansas in the winners' bracket of the SEC tournament on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Razorbacks (36-19) beat Ole Miss 2-1 in ten innings in the first game Thursday morning. Aaron Nola (10-0, 1.99 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers.