HOOVER, Ala. – Shortstop Alex Bregman drove in five runs Wednesday, and left-hander Jared Poche’ earned his ninth win of the season as eighth-ranked LSU defeated No. 10 Vanderbilt, 11-1, in the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The game was stopped and declared official in the bottom of the seventh inning when LSU expanded its lead to 10 runs. Games in the SEC Tournament, with the exception of the championship game, are halted if a team has a lead of 10 or more runs through the seventh inning.
LSU (41-14-1), winners of five straight games, will play at 4:30 p.m. CT Thursday against Arkansas, which beat Ole Miss, 2-1, to advance. Vanderbilt (41-17) will play the loser of the Ole Miss at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Bregman was 3-for-4 at the plate with a three-run homer, a double and five RBI. Poche’ fired seven innings, limiting the Commodores to one run on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
The Tigers have scored a remarkable 67 runs on 76 hits during their five-game win streak.
“It was a great, solid victory for the Tigers today,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I was just an outstanding performance in every phase. Poche’ set the tone, he pitched around some trouble in the first inning and limited the damage. It was one of those day where we swung the bats great again, and we played very good defense. It was a good way to start the tournament by beating an outstanding ball club like Vanderbilt.”
LSU, which has won the SEC Tournament title in four of the past six seasons, improved to 19-4 in conference tournament games during Mainieri’s eight-season tenure.
Vanderbilt opened the scoring in the top of the first when second baseman Dansby Swanson doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Xavier Turner and crossed the plate on a single by leftfielder Bryan Reynolds.
LSU tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first against Vanderbilt starter Jared Miller. Rightfielder Mark Laird doubled, moved to third on Bregman’s groundout and scored on designated hitter Chris Chinea’s grounder to short.
“Tying the ball game up was huge,” said Poche’, a freshman from Lutcher, La. “I was able to go out there and throw strikes. We put some more runs on the board. I feel anyone could pitch with a lead like that and a great defense behind you.”
LSU erupted for four runs in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead. Second baseman Conner Hale led off the inning with a double and later scored on a Miller wild pitch to give the Tigers a 2-1 advantage.
Bregman then punctuated the inning with a two-out, three-run homer against reliever Hayden Stone. The dinger was the sixth of the year for Bregman and the first allowed this season by Stone.
“I think we came out today with the approach of getting on base and putting together quality at-bats,” Bregman said. “We stuck to that approach the entire game, and the ball was traveling well.”
LSU catcher Kade Scivicque reached on fielder’s choice in the fifth and later scored on a grounder by first baseman Tyler Moore to increase the lead to 6-1.
The Tigers added two runs in the sixth as Bregman delivered a sacrifice fly and designated hitter Jake Fraley lined an RBI single.
LSU ended the game in the seventh with three more runs as Laird ripped a two-run triple and Bregman drilled an RBI double to give the Tigers a 10-run advantage.