Raph Rhymes had three hits, including a key two-run single, as LSU defeated Tulane 4-3 at The Box on Wednesday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU fifth inning - Rhymes singled and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Christian Ibarra. After Tyler Moore struck out, Rhymes scored on Ty Ross' ground out to shortstop. LSU 1, TULANE 0
Tulane sixth inning - Brandon Boudreaux was hit by a pitch and Garrett Cannizaro walked. Sam Potkay bunted the runners to second and third. Andrew Garner doubled home Boudreaux and Cannizaro. TULANE 2, LSU 1
LSU sixth inning - With one out, Mark Laird walked, Alex Bregman singled and Mason Katz walked. Laird scored on a wild pitch by Andrew Reeves. Rhymes singled home Bregman and Katz, both of whom moved up on the wild pitch. LSU 4, TULANE 2
Tulane eighth inning - Boudreaux and Cannizaro singled. Potkay and Garner struck out. Bowen Woodson singled home Boudreaux. LSU 4, TULANE 3
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
Eighth inning - With one out, Bregman walked and stole second base. Katz and Rhymes struck out.
LSU HITTING STAR
Rhymes, who was 1-for-11 in the last two games of the Alabama series, broke a 2-2 tie with a bases-loaded single with one out in the sixth. Rhymes also singled in the second and fifth innings. He scored LSU's first run in the fifth. Rhymes collected more than two hits in a game for the fourth time this season.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Kurt McCune was sharp in his scheduled two-inning outing. He allowed one hit - a two-out second-inning single by Garner. McCune walked none and struck out two. McCune has not allowed a run in his last four appearances which cover a span of seven innings.
Brent Bonvillain, who did not make an appearance in the Alabama series, threw two scoreless innings. He gave up a leadoff single by Tucker Oakley in the third and a two-out walk to Potkay in the fourth. Oakley got to third base with two out, but Bonvillain struck out Brennan Middleton. Will LaMarche had his typical up-and-down inning with two strikeouts followed by two walks. LaMarche got out of trouble on a foul pop out by Middleton. Hunter Devall was not as fortunate in the sixth. Devall hit a batter and walked one to start the inning. Kevin Berry replaced Devall and yielded a two-run double by Garner following a sacrifice bunt. Berry retired five consecutive batters after Garner's hit as he picked up his third victory of the season. Nate Fury started the eighth and allowed back-to-back singles. After striking out Potkay, Fury was relieved by Nick Rumbelow. After recording a strikeout, Rumbleow yielded a run-scoring single by Woodson. He retired Oakley on a ground ball to shortstop with the tying run in scoring position. Joey Bourgeois and Chris Cotton divided up the ninth. Bourgeois got the first out, while Cotton registered the next two to pick up his ninth save of the season.
Coach Paul Mainieri made a major change in the starting lineup with Katz starting at second base instead of JaCoby Jones, who was benched in the middle of Sunday's game at Arkansas. Jones entered the game in the seventh inning at second base with Katz shifting over to first. Katz, who had experience at second base while in high school, handled four chances without an error at second base. Katz and Rhymes switched positions in the batting order. Katz hit fourth, while Rhymes hit fifth. With Katz shifting to second base, Moore started at first base. Moore had not started a game at first base this season. He started 25 times at first base in 2012. Moore went 0-for-3. He struck out and hit into a double play with runners in scoring position. . .Ibarra, who had two singles, extended his hitting streak to six games. . .McMullen now has a four-game hitting streak after singling in the seventh inning. . .Bregman was the only other LSU player with a hit. . .The Tigers were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. . .Tulane starting pitcher Randy LeBlanc allowed four runs and four hits in 5.1 innings. A majority of Tulane's 41 games have been decided by one or two runs. The Green Wave has a 14-13 record in those close games. . .LSU has now won 25 consecutive games against in-state opponents. . .The Tigers are 38-4, while Tulane is 20-21. . .The actual crowd was 4,522.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri:
"Both teams played well. When is it going to warm up? There were tough conditions out there. It was a chilly night with the wind blowing in from the north."
(on 25-game winning streak against Louisiana schools) "Every time the guys put that LSU jersey over their head, they take pride in how they play. We ought to play as hard as we can every time we are representing our university. We play to win all the time. We have had a lot of games in this streak which were tough wins."
(on pitching performances) "Our pitchers did a solid job tonight. Our pitchers were up to the task except for a stretch of about five batters where LaMarche walked two and Devall hit one and walked one. It's not good pitching when you hit a guy and walk a guy. I abhor free passes. Devall's a freshman. He'll get better, but he has to understand what our standard is."
(on Katz' play at second base) "I wasn't surprised Mason made several plays at second base. He took a lot of ground balls at third base in the fall. Mason Katz is one of the best athletes in college baseball."
"I took a ton of ground balls at second yesterday and again today in batting practice. I was glad the first one was routine. On the one up the middle (Katz went to his right and threw across his body to first base), Alex Edward hit me that exact ball in batting practice. When I came back to the dugout after that inning, Alex said 'you can thank me later.'
"I was happy with the walk I drew in my at-bat with runners on first and second. I got behind two strikes and I fouled off some pitches and came back to walk. If they don't pitch to me, they can pitch to the guy who led the nation in hitting last year (Rhymes). I'm not being that selective at the plate now. I'm jumping in the box. Pitches I'm fouling off now, I was hitting for home runs earlier."
"Coach (Mainieri) told me I was being a little passive. I wanted to be aggressive tonight. So, I came out swinging. During batting practice, I was working on going to the opposite field (all three of Rhymes hits went to the right of second base). When I came up with the score tied, it was a time I needed to come through for my team. I was looking for a pitch to drive. I got a curve ball up and I was able to drive it into the outfield."
LSU will host to South Carolina at The Box on Friday at 7 p.m. The Gamecocks (31-11, 11-7) are tied with Arkansas for third place in the overall Southeastern Conference standings. Aaron Nola (7-0, 2.15 ERA) will be the Tigers' starting pitcher.