LSU walks past Cal State Fullerton 7-6
Tigers’ Hanover finishes with a pair of RBI, two runs scored
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU's Tyler Hanover brought home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with a bases-loaded walk, and closer Matty Ott fired a perfect ninth to preserve the seventh-ranked Tigers' 7-6 victory against No. 6 Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
The Tigers (14-1) made several spectacular plays defensively, including a pair of diving catches by center fielder Mikie Mahtook, and took advantage of three Titans' errors to secure the win.
Hanover finished with a pair of RBI and two runs scored, while second baseman JaCoby Jones delivered three hits, and catcher Ty Ross collected a pair of singles and an RBI.
Right-hander Kevin Berry (1-0) earned the first win of his LSU career after getting two clutch outs in the eighth inning to stifle the Titans' momentum.
Freshman starter Kevin Gausman went seven solid innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and two walks.
"Another great game and another great effort by our players," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "We had some outstanding performances, and I thought our team showed a lot of poise in a very competitive environment.
"I thought Kevin Gausman was tremendous on the mound today. He's a freshman that was matched up against an experienced All-American caliber pitcher [Cal State Fullerton starter Tyler Pill] and he gave us the kind of outing we needed."
LSU struck first with a two-run first to take a 2-0 lead. Left fielder Trey Watkins jumpstarted the inning out of the lead-off spot, walking and stealing both second and third before Hanover reached on an error and drove him in on a grounder to short.
Hanover then stole second, and Mahtook drilled an RBI double into the gap in left center field.
Cal State Fullerton (8-5) put a run on the board in the top of the third to reduce the deficit to 2-1. However, the Tigers added two runs in the bottom of the frame as both Mahtook and Hanover capitalized on a pair of errors to score and put the team up, 4-1.
The Titans pushed another run across in the top of the fourth to make it 4-2 when designated hitter Carlos Lopez scored from third on an RBI grounder by third baseman Joe Terry.
LSU first baseman Grant Dozar doubled in a run in the bottom of the fifth, and Ross provided an RBI single to give the Tigers a 6-2 lead.
A two-run homer by Cal State Fullerton's Michael Lorenzen in the sixth brought the Titans back to within two runs of the lead at 6-4.
Cal State Fullerton tied it up at 6-6 with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. Terry and pinch-hitter Anthony Hutting each drove in runs for the Titans, but Berry fanned center fielder Austin Kingsolver with two outs and a man on third to limit the damage.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the frame with the go-ahead run to take a 7-6 lead. Following singles from Ross, Jones and designated hitter Raph Rhymes to load the bases, Hanover drew a walk on a 3-2 count to score pinch-runner Matt Fury.
Ott fanned two in the ninth to shut the door on the Titans and record his fourth save of the season.
Cal State Fullerton's Dylan Floro (1-2) was charged with the loss after giving up three hits and the go-ahead run in the eighth.