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Posted: Sunday, 25 May 2014 9:54AM

LSU heads to SEC Baseball Championship



First baseman Tyler Moore and catcher Kade Scivicque each drove in three runs Saturday, and left-hander Kyle Bouman fired six strong innings to lead eighth-ranked LSU to an 11-1 win over No. 20 Arkansas in the semifinal round of the 2014 SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The game was stopped in the bottom of the eighth inning due to the tournament’s 10-run mercy rule. It was the second time in the tournament the Tigers had a game shortened due to the rule; LSU defeated Vanderbilt, 11-1, on Wednesday in seven innings. LSU posted two run-rule victories in one SEC Tournament for the second time in school history; the Tigers first accomplished the feat in 2001.

Saturday’s win vaulted LSU (43-14-1) into the SEC Tournament championship game for the 17th time in school history. LSU, which has a league-best 10 tournament titles, will attempt to win its fifth SEC Tournament crown in seven seasons.

LSU, winners of seven straight games, will play top-seeded Florida in the tournament championship game at 3:30 p.m. CT Sunday.

Arkansas, which has won nine of its last 12 games, dropped to 38-22 on the season with Saturday’s loss.

LSU is hitting .388 as team during its seven-game win streak, collecting 85 runs on 104 hits. The Tigers’ pitching staff has posted a 1.26 ERA during the seven-game stretch.

“Obviously, it was a great victory for us today,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Kyle Bouman was the story of the game with five no-hit innings, and when he got into some trouble in the sixth inning, he really battled hard and made some great pitches.

“We’re very proud of the way we swung the bats, and it was a good, full-team effort. We’re excited about playing in the championship game. It think it’s a great experience for our players knowing they are going to wake tomorrow and play for a championship. I want them to get used to that feeling. I have a sense they will be excited to play tomorrow.”

LSU improved to 21-4 under Mainieri in SEC Tournament games. Mainieri has guided the Tigers to conference tournament titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.

Moore led the Tigers’ 16-hit attack with a two-run homer and an RBI single. The Baton Rouge native has collected a remarkable 19 RBI in the Tigers’ last seven games.

Scivicque was 3-for-4 at the plate with a solo homer and a two-run double, and he scored three runs.

Bouman (5-2) limited Arkansas to one run on two hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts. He threw 90 pitches in the outing.

LSU took a 1-0 lead in the second when second baseman Conner Hale launched a solo homer, his fourth dinger of the year. The homer came against Arkansas starter Zach Jackson (2-2), who was charged with the loss after allowing one run on two hits in three innings with one walk and one strikeout.

Moore extended the lead to 3-0 in the fourth with a two-run homer against Arkansas reliever Jackson Lowery. The dinger was the fifth of the season for Moore and his second of the tournament.

LSU erupted for five runs on six hits in the fifth to increase the margin to 8-0. Moore, designated hitter Sean McMullen and centerfielder Andrew Stevenson each delivered RBI singles, and Scivicique lined a two-run double to highlight the rally.

Arkansas managed a run against Bouman in the sixth when he walked first baseman Eric Fisher with two outs and the bases loaded.

Scivicque blasted a solo homer to lead off the seventh inning, his sixth dinger of the season, and the Tigers ended the game in the eighth with a pair of runs that gave them a 10-run advantage. Pinch hitter Chris Sciambra ripped an RBI single and pinch Chris Chinea lifted a sacrifice fly to stop the contest.

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