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Baton Rouge Regional:

UCI snaps LSU’s streak

BASEBALL: Anteaters handle Tigers, ending their 23-win streak and pushing within one win of the College World Series.

June 07, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

“I don’t even think the umpire [Paul Rogers working second base in the four-man crew] was watching,” Mainieri said. “I was watching from the bench and I saw the whole thing develop. We tell our kids, when the pitcher isn’t on the mound, you’re supposed to be on the base. But he wasn’t a half step off the base. I can’t blame the kid. I thought it was obvious that he got back.”

LeMahiue said he saw Stevenson breaking toward him out of the corner of his eye and stepped back in contact with the bag before he was tagged.

Stevenson said he thought LeMahiue may have missed the bag when he tried to step back on.

LSU first base coach Javi Sanchez immediately charged toward Rogers and threw his hat to the dirt, prompting his ejection. Mainieri then came out from the dugout and argued for at least five minutes as the crowd consistently booed.

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Eventually, the umpires ordered LSU fielders to their positions, as UCI waited quietly in its dugout.

Both Mainieri and Stevenson said UCI did a good job of selling the out to the umpire, who hesitated before making the call.

“We were screaming ‘We got him! We got him!’ ” Stevenson said. “We started running off the field even before the ump even made the call and he made the out call.”

Almost as wild as the crowd, which lived up to its well-earned reputation for both decibels and dedication, were the Tigers’ pitchers.

LSU starter Ryan Verdugo, a ninth-round pick by San Francisco, and reliever Paul Bertuccini combined to walk five in 5 1/3 innings.

All five scored to help UCI claim a 6-1 lead.

But UCI also hit its way onto the scoreboard.

A two-out RBI single by Jeff Cusick, who had three hits to lead the visitors’ 13-hit attack, upped UCI’s lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning.

After Francis Larson and Stevenson walked to open the UCI sixth and advanced on an Eric Deragisch sacrifice bunt, sophomore Sean Madigan, now eight for 15 in the postseason with eight RBIs in his last two games, sat on a 2-1 curveball and launched a three-run home run over the wall in right-center field to give UCI a 6-1 cushion.

“I usually don’t do that [sit on a pitch], but he threw me a fourth straight curveball and I just connected,” Madigan said.

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