Mason Katz and Sean McMullen combined for five hits and five runs batted in as LSU defeated Jackson State 11-7 in an opening-round game of the Baton Rouge Regional at The Box on Friday afternoon.
HOW THEY SCORED
Jackson State first inning - Aneko Knowles singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stephen Curtis. After Bryce Taylor grounded out to third baseman Christian Ibarra, Ethan Bright was hit by a pitch. Charles Tilery doubled home Knowles and Bright. JACKSON STATE 2, LSU 0
LSU first inning - McMullen singled and stole second base. After Tyler Moore flied out to centerfield, Alex Bregman was hit by a pitch. McMullen scored on Katz' sacrifice fly to rightfield. Bregman stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Jose Cruz. Bergman scored when shortstop Nick Marigny made a throwing error on Raph Rhymes' ground ball. JACKSON STATE 2, LSU 2
LSU third inning - McMullen singled and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Moore. Bregman was thrown out by Cruz on a topped ball in front of the plate with Moore taking second. McMullen scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Katz. After Rhymes walked, Ibarra doubled home Moore. LSU 4, JACKSON STATE 2
LSU fourth inning - JaCoby Jones singled and went to third on a wild pickoff throw by pitcher Alexander Juday. After Andrew Stevenson walked, McMullen drove in Jones with a sacrifice fly to leftfield. Stevenson advanced to second on Moore's ground out to first base. Pinch-hitter Chris Sciambra singled home Stevenson. Katz hit a two-run homer off the batter's eye in centerfield. LSU 8, JACKSON STATE 2
LSU sixth inning - With two out, Katz walked and Jared Foster hit a home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 10, JACKSON STATE 2
Jackson State eighth inning - With one out, Fred Hampton walked and Marigny singled. Gary Thomas was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hampton scored on a walk to Knowles. Curtis singled home Marigny. Thomas scored when Taylor was hit by a pitch. LSU 10, JACKSON STATE 5
LSU eighth inning - Casey Yocom walked. Katz doubled down the leftfield line. Yocom was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score after Taylor bobbled the ball in leftfield. Katz, who went to third on the play at the plate, scored on a sacrifice fly by Foster. LSU 11, JACKSON STATE 5
Jackson State ninth inning - Jose Cruz walked. Phillip Harvey ran for Cruz and scored on a two-run homer by Fred Hampton. LSU 11, JACKSON STATE 7
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Seventh inning - With two out, McMullen doubled. McMullen was left at second base as Moore flied out to rightfield.
McMullen, who had just one hit in the last two games of the Southeastern Conference tournament, had two singles and a double against Jackson State. McMullen scored runs in the first and third innings and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Katz, who was hitless in the final two games of the SEC tournament, had a double and a two-run homer. Katz also had sacrifice flies in the first and third innings and walked and scored a run in the sixth. Katz now has 178 career RBIs which puts him alone in tenth place on LSU's all-time rankings. He was tied with Ryan Patterson at 174. Katz now has 51 career doubles which puts him alone in tenth place on the school's all-time rankings. He was tied with Aaron Hill at 50.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Ryan Eades had his shortest start of the season as he was removed with one out in the third inning. Of the 15 batters Eades faced, nine reached base. Eades gave up four hits, walked three and hit two batters. Jackson State scored twice off Eades in the first. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by striking out Taylor. After issuing two one-out walks in the third, Eades was replaced.
Kurt McCune saved the day for the Tigers pitching staff by throwing a season-high 4.2 scoreless innings. With two runners on base and one out in the third, McCune struck out Hampton and got Marigny to ground out to Bregman at shortstop. He also pitched out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. McCune got Bright to pop out to Bregman with runners on first and second and two out in the fourth. Then, McCune got Marigny to hit into a 6-4-3 double play with runners at first and third and one out in the fifth. McCune, who picked up his fourth victory of the season, had three-up, three-down innings in the sixth and seventh. He struck out a season-best five batters. Kevin Berry didn't have near the success as McCune. After retiring the first batter in the eighth, Berry permitted the next five hitters to reach base - two singles, two walks and a hit batsman. With two runs in, Nate Fury took over for Berry and hit the first batter he faced to force in a run. Fury then stopped the bleeding by striking out Bright and Tilery with the bases loaded. Hunter Newman started the ninth and allowed two walks sandwiched around a homer by Hampton. Joey Bourgeois got the last three outs - two on a game-ending double play.
LSU now has a 25-1 record in NCAA regional openers. The lone Tigers loss in the first game of a regional came against Houston (11-4) in 1985 at Austin (Tex.). . .There was a rain delay ten minutes into the game in the top of the first inning when Jackson State had two runners on base and two men out. The delay lasted 25 minutes. . .Moore, the designated hitter, batted in the second spot in the lineup. LSU started three lefthanded hitters - McMullen, Moore and Stevenson. Mark Laird was in uniform, but he wore a boot on his left foot. He was unavailable for Friday's game. . .An outfield collision between Bregman and Rhymes forced both players to leave the game. Bregman went to a local hospital for an examination. Rhymes received two stiches for a cut lip. Ibarra moved from third base to take Bregman's place at shortstop. Yocom went in at third base. Foster replaced Rhymes in leftfield. . .Katz tied the school record for sacrifice flies in a game with two. Katz' homer was his 15th of the season and the 32nd of his career. . .Ibarra, who had a double and a single, has hit safely in his last four games. . .Sciambra had a RBI single while pinch-hitting for Bregman in the fourth. . .Foster's home run was his second of the season and the third of his career. . .The Tigers had four sacrifice flies - two by Katz, one by McMullen and one by Foster - tied the school record. . .LSU was 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. . .Jackson State starting pitcher Juday gave up seven runs and six hits in 3.2 innings. . .Tigers pitchers walked seven and hit four batters. . .Jackson State stranded 13 runners - ten in scoring position. . .LSU is 53-9, while Jackson State is 34-21. . .Jackson State will play the loser of the Louisiana-Lafayette-Sam Houston State game Saturday at 2 p.m. . .The actual crowd was 9,316.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"This was one of the most painful wins we have had. The biggest concern is with Alex Bregman and Raph Rhymes with their collision in the outfield. I hope both are Ok and they can get out there. The game was ugly the way it went. But, it was not as bad as it may have seemed. Jackson State was a pest. They were very scrappy and wouldn't go away. Nothing went by script."
(on injuries to Raph Rhymes and Alex Bregman) "Raph could have continued to play. He got a blow to the nose and a laceration to the lip. Due to the heat and the shot to the head, I felt it was best to take him out. Alex is more concerning. He is in the hospital getting tests done on bones in his face."
(on performance of Ryan Eades and the bullpen) "Obviously, Ryan had command problems. It was one of those days where he never found his rhythm. He had a problem with the humidity and his hands being wet. He has to learn how to manage that. Kurt McCune had no problem with (humidity). Kurt stepped up and saved the day for the Tigers. (Nate) Fury and (Joey) Bourgeois did a good job. Kevin Berry and Hunter Newman didn't. The game was not in hand when I took McCune out (after seven innings), but we were close. The plan was for Berry to throw the eighth and Newman the ninth. Fury got us out of (eighth). I took him out for the ninth to save pitches. It is more of a challenge with Cody Glenn not being with us."
(on status of the suspended Cody Glenn) "His situation was not decided until right before the 4 p.m. meeting (Thursday). I can't go into detail. It is a personal matter, a violation of team rules. Sometimes, youngsters don't do the right things and they have to learn things the tough way. Cody let his teammates down. We will re-evaluate his status after the weekend."
"Pretty much every situation I came up in the beginning of the game, there was a man on third and one out. I had to hit a fly ball. On the home run, there were two outs and I was trying to hit the ball hard. I worked a long count and I was able to put one into the wind. It was a 3-2 count and (Brandon Gregory) threw a fast ball down the middle. I was able to stick to my approach and it fell right into what I wanted to do. We had to take advantage of what (starting pitcher Alexander Juday) was doing. It is not easy hitting off an off-speed pitcher. You can be down 1-0 in the seventh against a guy like that."
(on offense coming alive) "We didn't have a good offensive (SEC) tournament. We won it with pitching and bad hitting. If we flip flop things now, that's how it's going to be. If we have to hit to win it, we're going to hit. When Kurt came in, we were able to make some plays defensively. That made our intensity higher and we brought it to our bats."
"I am just really happy that I could help my team out. I went in with the mindset to just get out of the (third) inning. I never expected to go as long as I did. I am glad we did because we were running low on arms, I loved being able to pitch multiple innings. Being able to be out there for a couple of innings helped me get into a groove and figure out what was working."
"I just wanted to hit the ball on the ground and keep it out of the air today. I didn't want to do too much. I just wanted to get on base. Jackson State's pitcher did very well. As a team, we had a good approach. We put the ball in play and hit it hard. Hopefully, we will carry it over to the next game."
LSU will play the winner of Friday night's first-round game between Louisiana-Lafayette and Sam Houston State on Saturday at 7 p.m. Aaron Nola (10-0, 1.94 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers.
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