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  1. StLee

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    LSU baseball

    Tompkins, Tigers Overcome Jams in 10 Innings, 5-4
    05/10/02

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    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- LSU relief ace Jake Tompkins worked himself out of three jams in the final three innings as the Fighting Tigers took a 5-4, 10-inning victory over Florida in the opener of a three-game Southeastern Conference series Friday night at McKethan Stadium.

    LSU (34-16, 15-9), which has won 12 of its last 16 SEC contests, will go for its fifth series victory in six outings Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT.

    Sean Barker led off the extra frame with a drag bunt single, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by former Gator Matt Heath. Florida reliever Kevin Coleman got Clay Harris to ground out to move Barker to third, then appeared to be out of the inning when David Raymer struck out swinging on a low pitch.

    However, the ball hit the dirt, and Brian Rose's throw to retire Raymer at first was wide of the bag, allowing Barker to score.

    Tompkins then continued the drama in the bottom of the 10th by walking Jake Riordan, but got Riordan at second on Matt Goss' attempted sacrifice bunt. Wally Pontiff's dive then stopped Aaron Davidson's ground ball in the hole, but Pontiff could not recover and the hit put runners on first and second.

    Pontiff would end the game, though, when Rose grounded to third for the game-ending double play. Tompkins earned the win to improve to 5-0 and keep his ERA second in the SEC at 2.70.

    Chris Phillips and Jon Zeringue laced back-to-back one out singles in the top of the ninth before both moved up on a fly ball by J.C. Holt.

    Hill then placed a ground ball between third and short to plate pinch runner Rocky Scelfo to put the Tigers in front 4-3.

    Tompkins started the bottom of the ninth by walking Florida pinch hitter Mario Garza on four pitches, then could not get Mark Kiger out after getting two strikes, walking the Gators' shortstop to bring up Aaron Sobieraj, who laid down a sacrifice bunt. The play was compounded when LSU third baseman Pontiff's throw pulled Clay Harris off the bag, leaving the bases loaded.

    Pat Osborn lifted a sacrifice fly to the wall in right that tied the game before Shealy grounded to Hill at short, who started the inning ending double play that sent the game into extra innings.

    Florida (36-14, 16-9), the SEC's top-hitting team entering the contest at .358, started the eighth inning by getting two runners in scoring position, as leadoff hitter Osborn reached when his ground ball got under Aaron Hill's glove into left field, then Shealy doubled off the right field wall to drive LSU starting pitcher Lane Mestepey from the game, summoning Tompkins from the bullpen.

    Tompkins fanned pinch hitter Jeff Corsaletti and intentionally walked Matt Goss to load the bases before Harris cut down Osborn at the plate on a ground ball by Aaron Davidson. Brian Rose would work the count to 2-2 before being frozen on a curveball that caught the outside corner for the third strike that left the score tied and the bases loaded.

    Mestepey went seven-plus innings and allowed eight hits, getting his first no-decision since February 16 against Mercer.

    Prior to this game, LSU had used two lineups for the past six weeks-one against right-handed pitchers, one against left-handed pitchers. But for this important game, coach Smoke Laval tinkered with the lineup a little bit against Florida southpaw Jimmy Ramshaw in hopes of sparking the Tiger offense.

    The move seemed to work early when the Tigers scored twice in the second, as Matt Heath led off with a single, then scored all the way from first on Harris' double into the left field corner. Harris, who started earlier in the season at first base but has been used almost exclusively as a pitcher the last eight weeks, was making his first start in the field since March 29.

    Harris would advance to third on a ground ball by Raymer, who appeared to be safe when Davidson's throw to Shealy at first was in the dirt, but first base umpire Mark McGill instead ruled Raymer out. Harris would score on Phillips' slow roller to the mound that was mishandled by Ramshaw, allowing Phillips to reach. The LSU catcher would go to second on a balk, but was left there when Zeringue and Holt both grounded out.

    Sobieraj's sacrifice fly scored Ben Harrison with the first Gator run after one-out singles by Harrison and Kiger in the third, but LSU would get the run back in the top of the fourth on Raymer's RBI double that scored Heath, who reached on an error by Osborn to lead off the inning.

    Rose's single to lead off the fifth started the Gator rally to tie the game at 3-3. The Florida catcher would move up to second on Harrison's sacrifice bunt before Kiger doubled inside the third base bag to cut the LSU lead to 3-2. Kiger would score on a failed pickoff attempt by Phillips to even the contest.

    Box score
     

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