Last Modified: Friday, May 03, 2013 10:48 AM
BATON ROUGE — LSU’s Ty Ross had the Tigers’ winning RBI, Joey Bourgeois got the victory and Chris Cotton got the save.
Forget about them.
None of it, head coach Paul Mainieri pointed out, happens without Cody Glenn.
Mainieri rolled the dice in sending Glenn, his No. 3 starter, out against Florida’s potential first-round pick Jonathon Crawford Thursday night, and pulled it off after Ross lifted a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth for a 3-2 victory over the Gators in the opener of the three-game Southeastern Conference series.
“Who would have thought Cody would lasted longer than a first-round pick?” said a smiling Mainieri after the Tigers got 6 2/3 innings out of the up-and-down Glenn. “Cody took it as a challenge, and he was up to the challenge.”
Thus LSU escaped with a victory over the best arm the Tigers will see this weekend, and still have their two aces, Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades, for the final two games.
“This is how we envisioned it,” said LSU first baseman Mason Katz. “We envisioned winning tonight with Cody. We had no doubt he could do it. He outdueled a first-round draft pick. That was huge.”
“It sets up nice for us,” Mainieri admitted. “Now we just have to produce.”
The Tigers (41-6, 17-5 SEC) broke a two-game conference losing streak. Florida fell to 25-21, 12-10.
The two teams will be back at it at 6:30 p.m. today with Nola (8-0, 2.34 ERA) on the mound against Bobby Poyner (2-1, 4.22).
Glenn tied a career high with six strikeouts while allowing five hits, and one of the two runs he allowed was unearned.
“Cody Glenn was awesome,” Mainieri said. “That is the best I’ve seen him pitch.”
LSU opened the eighth with back-to-back singles by Alex Bregman and Katz and got them to second and third on a wild pitch. But Raph Rhymes popped up for the first out and the Gators loaded the based with an intentional walk.
Ross fought off a two-strike pitch before getting a soft fly ball just deep enough to center to bring home Bregman.
“It’s hard to try to hit a sacrifice fly,” Ross said. “I was just trying to hit it hard.”
Bourgeois pitched the eighth for the win and Cotton had a perfect ninth for this 10th save.
Florida had a chance for a big third inning but needed help from LSU to score the game’s first run.
The Gators loaded the bases with one out on back-to-back bunt singles and a walk.
Glenn got a tailor-made double-play ball on a come-backer to the mound and went to home for the second out of the inning. But Katz couldn’t hold on to the relay throw from home to first, and Richie Martin scored all the way from second on the error.
“We got a break there,” said Mainieri, who argued that there was runner interference at first base on the play. “Or else Cody gets out of that one, too.”
Katz made amends with a two-out RBI single to score to Sean McMullen in the bottom of the inning, and JaCoby Jones hit a blast over the left-field wall for a solo home run in the fourth inning to put LSU up 2-1.
That held up until the seventh, when Gators’ Josh Tobias singled with two out and scored from first on Harrison Bader’s double in the gap. That finally chased Glenn.
But he had done his job.