LSU baseball caps off SEC Championship with 8-1 win over South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Freshman right-hander Alex Lange limited South Carolina to one run on one hit in five innings, and top-ranked LSU pounded out 11 hits as the Tigers defeated South Carolina, 8-1, at Carolina Stadium.
Lange(10-0) combined with relievers Jesse Stallings, Hunter Newman, Zac Person and Alden Cartwright to limit South Carolina to just two hits in the game. Lange allowed one run on hit in five innings with three walks and nine strikeouts.
South Carolina starter Taylor Widener (1-5) was charged with the loss as he allowed four runs on four hits in three innings with no walks and three strikeouts.
Prior to the game, LSU clinched the 2015 SEC regular-season title when Alabama defeated Vanderbilt, 1-0, in Hoover, Ala. The Tigers claimed the league-best 16th SEC championship and their third title during coach Paul Maineri's nine season-tenure.
LSU also won this season the SEC Western Division title for the 18th time and for the fifth time under Mainieri.
Top-seeded LSU will play its first game in the SEC Tournament on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. CT against the winner of Tuesday's matchup between eighth-seeded Kentucky and ninth-seeded Auburn.
LSU is the two-time defending SEC Tournament champion and has won the event five times in the past seven seasons.
"Winning the SEC championship is a tremendous accomplishment, and I'm extremely proud of they way this team has performed all season," Mainieri said. "We've had a remarkable regular season and reached two of our goals - a division title and an overall conference title. Our players know this is only the beginning; we have a chance to accomplish much more in the postseason."
First baseman Chris Chinea's two-run homer - his 11th dinger of the season - in the second inning gave LSU a 2-0 lead. The Tigers added two more runs in the third on an RBI double by leftfielder Jake Fraley and a solo dinger by shortstop Alex Bregman, his ninth home run of the season.
Bregman's RBI single in the fifth increased the Tigers' advantage to 5-0. South Carolina got on the scoreboard in the fifth against Lange on a run-scoring single by shortstop Marcus Mooney, the Gamecocks' first hit of the game.
The Tigers scored three runs in the eighth, sending nine batters to the plate. Chinea ripped an RBI double, rightfielder Mark Laird contributed an RBI on a fielder's choice groundout and second baseman Jared Foster lined a run-scoring single.