LSU knocks UA out of SEC tourney

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) - Pinch-hitter Derek Helenihi hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to lift top-seeded LSU to a 9-6 victory over Alabama Thursday in an elimination game of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Anthony Ranaudo pitched into the eighth for the Tigers (42-16), who will need to beat either South Carolina or Vanderbilt Friday to keep hopes for a repeat tournament title alive.

The Tide (37-19) scored three runs in the final two innings but left the bases loaded in the eighth and two men on in the ninth against relievers Buzzy Haydel and Matty Ott.

Ryan Schimpf had three hits and scored twice for LSU.

Helenihi's homer had given the Tigers a 9-3 lead after he pinch-hit for Leon Landry.

Kent Matthes had an RBI double for the Tide, which went two-and-out in the tournament.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)