Titans Swept By Tigers; Drop Sunday's Affair, 10-2
March 13, 2011
Baton Rouge, La. - Mikie Mahtook and Austin Nola combined for four hits and six RBI and the Tigers capitalized on four Titan errors as No. 16 Louisiana State completed the weekend sweep of visiting No. 6 Cal State Fullerton with a 10-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.
The Titans drop their third straight game for the first time since mid-2009 and fall to 8-6 on the year. It was the first time since March of 2008 vs. Stanford that the Titans had been swept in a series. LSU improves to 15-1 overall and now lead the all-time series between it and Fullerton, 6-4.
"I tip my cap to Coach [Paul] Mainieri," said Fullerton Head Coach Dave Serrano.
"I felt their guys rose to the occasion all weekend long, especially when it mattered.
"What I felt was a good team coming in here to Baton Rouge, is now leaving with a lot of questions that need to be answered."
Titan starter Colin O'Connell (2-1) couldn't escape the second inning in the series finale, and allowed six runs (just two earned) before the fifth out of the game was recorded. O'Connell hadn't issued a walk in his first three starts of the year, but walked the leadoff hitter Trey Watkins in the bottom of the first. A base hit, a sacrifice and a groundout by Mahtook scored Watkins, and just like that the Titans were down 1-0. A batter later, Nola split the right-center field gap for an RBI-double to make it 2-0.
Ben Alsup (3-1) allowed runners in the first and second innings, but his defense helped him out with a pair of double plays that erased any Titan attempt at a rally. The senior worked 6.2 innings and struck out five to earn the win. Samuel Peterson and Jimmy Dykstra pitched a perfect 2.1 innings to wrap up the game.
Back-to-back errors by Joe Terry (fielding) and O'Connell put runners at first and second with nobody out to start the Tiger second inning. JaCoby Jones singled home the game's third run and then appeared to be picked off on a "fake-to-third-throw-to-first" by O'Connell, but the Titan hurler threw the ball errantly into the stands. That brought the fourth run home from third and sent Jones all the way to third.
A sacrifice fly and a base hit later, O'Connell was done. Chris Devenski relieved him and walked the first guy he faced then allowed two more RBI-singles (Mahtook and Nola) before retiring the side.
"I know this kind of atmosphere will create [confusion to the visiting defense]. We tried to prepare for it," said Serrano. The Titans and Tigers played in front of nearly 30,000 LSU fans on the weekend.
"We just didn't perform when we had to. It starts on the mound. We were totally out of character."
The Titans committed 10 errors on the weekend after having seven miscues through the first 11 games of the year.
LSU tacked on their eighth run in the third on a two-out double by Watkins, a walk and a single to center by Tyler Hanover off Devenski.
The Titans caught a break for their first time in the fifth. Ivory Thomas walked to lead things off and then stole second and went to third on an error by the catcher Jordy Snikeris. Thomas scored on a Jared Deacon fly ball to right.
After Devenski, Ryan Ackland became the only Titan to log a scoreless appearance on the weekend. He gave up just one hit in two innings in his first appearance since May 29, 2009.
"The only guy that pitched in character [this weekend] was Ryan Ackland, who was probably the brightest spot for me on the weekend... a guy that hasn't pitched in over a year because of arm surgery... and I threw him into a situation in front of 9,000 people and he took it to the game. No one else did that," said Serrano.
Christian Coronado pitched the final inning for Fullerton and the freshman surrendered LSU's final two runs. A walk and a single set up a two-run Mahtook single in the eighth that capped the Tigers' 11-hit attack.
"We made uncharacteristic errors and we gave away too many at bats. We have a long way to go," said Serrano.
"We'll use this [series] as a lesson and hopefully a stepping stone for what will come down the line."
The Titans will look to snap the three-game skin Tuesday night in College Station, Tex., as they visit Texas A&M in a midweek match-up before heading home to face Washington at home next weekend. Jake Floethe is expected to make the start against the Aggies.