LSU earns sweep of Missouri

By From staff reports

COLUMBIA, Mo. —  Missouri finally solved LSU’s starting pitching Sunday. But, the Tigers’ bullpen came to the rescue and Mazon Katz’ third

home run of the weekend rallied LSU to a 6-5 victory over Mizzou and a sweep of the SEC series.

LSU (26-2, 8-1 SEC), which had to come back from an early 5-1 deficit, leads the SEC West and remains tied with Vanderbilt atop the overall

conference standings.

“We were able to sneak out a victory,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said “In this league, you’re grateful whenever you get victories so you don’t over-analyze them.”

It didn’t take much analysis beyond relief pitcher Brent Bonvillain.

“Brent was really the key to the game for us,” Mainieri said. “He came in and carved them up and gave us a chance to win the

game.”

Bonvillain threw 413

hitless innings after coming on for the final out of the third, nursing

the 6-5 lead into the eighth for setup man Joey Bourgeois.

Bonvillain, who got the win to improve to 2-0, retired the last 12

batters he faced.

Bourgeois got the first two outs of the

eighth before hitting a batter. Chris Cotton came on for the final out,

then allowed

a leadoff single in the ninth — the only hit the LSU bullpen

allowed over the final six innings — but retired the next three

for his eighth save.

Missouri (9-15, 2-7) scored its first run of the weekend in the first inning off LSU starter Cody Glenn, then took a 5-1 lead

in the second that chased him.

Glenn got the first two outs of the second before giving up a walk and a single, then hit three straight batters, two of which

forced in runs. Reliever Kevin Berry gave up a two-run single to Jake Ivory to stake Mizzou to a 5-1 lead.

It didn’t last long.

Freshman Alex Bregman singled and Raph Rhymes walked to open the top of the third, and Katz followed with his SEC-leading

13th home run of the season, a three-run, opposite-field shot into the jet stream that just cleared the rightfield wall. A

Missouri error kept the inning alive for Sean McMullen’s two-run single and a 6-5 LSU lead. Katz, who leads the nation in

RBIs, also had an RBI single in the first.

But what looked like a wild game quickly settled down and turned into a battle of bullpens.

“Sometimes I just scratch my head and

say, ‘How did we win?’ ” Mainieri said. “Our starting pitcher didn’t

make it through

the second inning and I think we had one good swing in the last

six innings. Their pitching really dominated us (late). But

somehow we find a way to win.

“Really, the key to the game was our relief pitching — shutting them out for six or seven innings, and we made some good plays

defensively.”