Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tigers Get Boost to Win

LSU’s struggling offense got a boost Friday night from its best two pitchers, plus another assist from an accommodating opposing defense.
Charlie Furbush and Jared Bradford held Central Florida to four hits and LSU scored four unearned runs in a 4-1 victory before a season-high crowd of 3,720 at Alex Box Stadium.
The Golden Knights (3-6) committed five errors, four at third base. Three of those led to runs.
LSU (6-2) is 5-0 at home with the aid of 15 errors by visiting teams.
“I choose to look at the positive side of things,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.
“The errors they made did aid in our cause, but on the other hand you sometimes take a little credit for that because you put the ball in play and force them to make plays.”
The Tigers had 10 hits, their third consecutive game with at least 10. LSU has 37 runs and 59 hits through eight games.
LSU stretched a 2-1 lead with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Furbush and Bradford retired the last 13 UCF batters.
“I thought our pitchers were the story of the game,” Mainieri said.
Furbush (2-1) gave up four hits, the first with one out in the fourth inning. An inning later, Eric Kallstrom hit a leadoff home run for a 1-1 tie.
A double play helped Furbush survive two subsequent singles in the inning.
He rebounded from an 8-1 loss at Stetson one week earlier.
“I just kind of got in a rhythm from the start,” Furbush said. “Last weekend I couldn’t really find my rhythm, get in the groove.”
He struck out seven and walked two.
Bradford retired all six batters he faced. He is LSU’s designated Sunday starter if he doesn’t pitch in relief earlier in a weekend series, but Mainieri said he needed him Friday night to close out a tight game.
“It’s fun to get the last out,” Bradford said. “As a starter you don’t always get to do that. To come in and get the last out, it’s exciting. Playing at home, you get the last out, you get to pump the fist, you get to get off the field and slap hands with the guys.”
Bradford, who is 1-0 as a starter, earned his second save.
“I’m not sure where we’d be without him right now,” Mainieri said.
LSU had six hits for two unearned runs off UCF starter Mitch Houck (0-2).
The Golden Knights committed four errors in each of the first two games of the season-opening series against TCU and five errors in each of the first two games of the series against Maryland last weekend.
The five errors Friday give UCF 26 this season. Third baseman Chris Duffy, who committed two Friday, has six.
UCF coach Jay Bergman substituted for Duffy in the fifth inning, an inning after his second error. His replacement, Kyle Maulbetsch, booted a two-out, fifth-inning ground ball by Sean Ochinko, allowing LSU to take a 2-1 lead.
Maulbetsch committed another error in the bottom of the eighth inning. He misplayed a two-out pop-up by Michael Hollander, allowing Steven Waguespack to score from second base.
Hollander scored for a 4-1 lead on Haydel’s subsequent single.
“Obviously when you give them five extra base runners, it’s tough to win,” said UCF designated hitter Matt Horwath, who played two seasons at LSU before transferring closer to home before the 2005 season.
“We work hard on defense every day, but for some reason in the games we’re just not producing, not getting it done. It’s tough.”
The Tigers, who committed two errors, have 13 in eight games.
LSU took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. J.T. Wise singled, took second base on Waguespack’s infield hit and scored on Duffy’s first error.
Hollander, who scored a pivotal run Wednesday night on a wild pitch in a 6-2 victory over Northwestern State, was thrown out Friday on a similar play with a different bounce, different count on the batter and different number of outs.
LSU had other chances to score but left 11 runners on base.
“We had those other chances because we put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense,” Mainieri said.

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