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Rapid Reaction: LSU 7, Alabama 1

4/14/2012

BATON ROUGE -- LSU secured another SEC series win Saturday night with a 7-1 victory against Alabama.

Here's some quick reaction from the game, which went from a two-run thriller to a blowout during the course of a crucial eighth inning.

Overview: LSU starter Ryan Eades (5-1) turned in a sterling performance in subduing the Crimson Tide lineup. Eades didn't overpower Alabama's offense, but he completely befuddled the Tide (13-22, 4-10) while limiting their hitters to just two hits. He notched just five strikeouts, but he managed to retire the side in order in five of the eight innings he appeared in. He finished the night with 7.1 innings pitched, one run and just two hits allowed along with his five strikeouts.

LSU (29-7, 10-4) put up 10 runs on Friday, and it looked like that could happen again after the Tigers chalked up two runs in the first inning. But Alabama freshman starter Justin Kamplain (1-3) settled in and pitched a gem of his own. Kamplain went seven innings and held LSU to just three runs on seven hits.

Turning point: Eades finally faded once he reached the eighth inning. With his pitch count inching toward 100, the sophomore walked two batters in the eighth frame to give Alabama two base runners with just one out. Brent Bonvillain took over in relief and was able to deliver. The Tide were able to break up the shutout by scoring on a sacrifice fly, but Bonvillain successfully closed the door to preserve LSU's lead.

Alabama's relief didn't fare as well. Kamplain's replacement, Charley Sullivan, suffered a nightmare inning when he took over in the bottom half of the eighth. The Tigers completely abused Sullivan to the tune of four runs on four hits, highlighted by Ty Ross' two-RBI triple to right-center field.

The inning turned what had been a nail biter into a laugher.

Key player: Eades didn't blow anyone away. He didn't tally too many strikeouts, and his four walks meant he had to deal with at least a few base runners. But Alabama couldn't figure him out with any consistency, and it showed in its meager total of two hits.

Key stat: Alabama's lineup went 2-for-28 from the plate. LSU DH Raph Rhymes did better than that on his own, going 3-of-4 with one RBI.

Miscellaneous: The win gives LSU its third consecutive conference series win, and its fourth in the last five.

Up next: LSU and Alabama play the finale Sunday at noon. A win for the Tigers would push them into a tie with No. 2 Kentucky for first place in the league.