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LSU clinches SEC Western Division crown

Last Modified: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:30 PM

Special to the American Press

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Sean McMullen lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning to provide the go-ahead run and propel third-ranked LSU to a 2-1 victory over Texas A&M Saturday at Blue Bell Park.

The win clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship for LSU, its second in a row and its fourth in coach Paul Mainieri’s seven years tenure. LSU has won 17 SEC West titles.

The win also clinched the series victory for the Tigers, who completed a 7-4 triumph over the Aggies Saturday morning after the game was suspended Friday night in the top of the seventh inning.

“One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to win the division title, and I’m extremely proud of our players for their tremendous effort in getting the job done,” Mainieri said.

“It’s the first of what we hope we will be a number of championships this season. We’ve had a remarkable season, but we realize we’ve only just begun. There are many more goals in front of us.”

The scheduled seven-inning game Saturday was tied 1-1 in the top of the eighth when Ty Ross led off with a double against Aggies closer Jason Jester. Andrew Stevenson reached safely on a bunt single, moving pinch-runner Jared Foster to third.

McMullen launched a fly ball to deep right field to score Foster and give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

LSU reliever Chris Cotton (3-1) pitched the final 123 innings to earn the win. Cotton limited the Aggies to no runs on one hit with no walks or strikeouts.

Jester (2-3) was charged with the loss as he surrendered one run on three hits in 223 innings with one walk and no strikeouts.

LSU starting pitcher Ryan Eades allowed one run on eight hits in 613 innings with one walk and one strikeout.

A&M starter Parker Ray worked 513 innings and limited LSU to one run on five hits with three walks and a career-high five strikeouts.

In the resumption of Friday’s suspended game, A&M scored two runs to pull within 7-4 and got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. But Nick Rumbelow came on to get the final two outs of the eighth on one pitch and Cotton set the Aggies down in an uneventful ninth for his 11th save.

McMullen went 4-for-4 with three RBIs in the suspended game, which LSU led 7-2 when the rains arrived, halting the game.

LSU struck for three runs in the second inning Friday night and RBI singles by McMullen and by Foster highlighted a three-run fourth inning as LSU extended its lead to 6-0.

LSU starter Aaron Nola (10-0) limited the Aggies to one earned run on six hits in six innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

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