Raph Rhymes drove in three runs and Hunter Devall threw four scoreless innings in relief as LSU defeated Alcorn State 7-3 at The Box on Tuesday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
Alcorn State first inning - With two out, Angel Rosa hit a home run into the leftfield seats. ALCORN STATE 1, LSU 0
Alcorn State second inning - With two out, Ryant Piper walked and Ashton Lewis hit a home run into the leftfield seats. ALCORN STATE 3, LSU 0
LSU second inning - Mason Katz walked. After Christian Ibarra popped out to shortstop, Alex Edward singled. Chris Chinea flied out to leftfield. Casey Yocom singled home Katz. ALCORN STATE 3, LSU 1
LSU third inning - Alex Bregman hit a one-out triple. Bregman scored on Rhymes sacrifice fly to leftfield. ALCORN STATE 3, LSU 2
LSU fifth inning - With one out, Bregman doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Mundo Sanchez. Rhymes doubled home Bregman. Walks to Katz and Ibarra loaded the bases. Edward singled home Rhymes. LSU 4, ALCORN STATE 3
LSU seventh inning - Rhymes led off the inning with a home run over the leftfield fence. Katz singled and was forced at second by Ibarra. After a walk to Edward, Chinea singled home Ibarra. Yocom walked to load the bases. Edward scored on a sacrifice fly to rightfield by Sean McMullen. LSU 7, ALCORN STATE 3
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
First inning - Mark Laird singled with one out. After Bregman fouled out to leftfield, Laird stole second. Rhymes popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
Eighth inning - With two out, Tyler Moore walked and Michael Barash singled. Barash was ruled out when he was hit by Chris Sciambra's ground ball.
LSU HITTING STAR
Rhymes, who had just one hit in the three games at Missouri, had a double and a home run against Alcorn State. His double in the fifth drove in the run which tied the score at 3-3. Rhymes' second homer of the year in the seventh put the Tigers ahead 5-3. Rhymes also drove home a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Russell Reynolds had a rough outing in his attempt to take over the Sunday slot in the pitching rotation. Reynolds allowed two homers - a solo shot by Rosa in the first and a two-run blast by Lewis in the second. Reynolds walked a batter before Lewis hit his home run. Reynolds was replaced by Hunter Devall to start the third inning.
For the second consecutive game, the Tigers bullpen threw at least seven innings of shutout baseball. Devall turned in his best outing of the season with four shutout innings. Devall had not pitched more than two innings in any previous appearance. After allowing a double to the first batter he faced, Devall retired nine hitters in a row. He got into trouble in the sixth by walking two and hitting one. Devall, who recorded his second victory of the year, protected the 4-3 LSU lead by striking out Piper. Will LaMarche got himself in trouble in the seventh as he allowed a single and issued a two-out walk. With two runners in scoring position, LaMarche got Rosa to fly out to centerfield to end the inning. Nick Rumbelow worked the eighth in which he walked one and struck out two. Nate Fury and Joey Bourgeois divided the ninth. Bourgeois got the last two outs with one strikeout. The five Tigers relievers yielded just two hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Andrew Stevenson, JaCoby Jones and Ty Ross - all of whom are hitting below .200 - were not in the starting lineup. Jared Foster was in rightfield with Laird moving to centerfield. Yocom was at second base and Chinea was the catcher. . .The start for Yocom was his first of the season. Yocom responded with the second two-hit game of his career. He had two hits against McNeese State last year. . .Edward was the designated hitter. . .Edward had his first two-hit game of the season. . .Chinea had a RBI single in the seventh. . .All but one of LSU's first 12 outs were a fly ball or a pop up. . .Both Bregman and Katz extended their hitting streaks in the third inning. Bregman tripled to run his streak to 17 games. Katz had a single to put his hitting streak at nine games. That single by Katz was the 200th hit of his career. Both Bregman and Katz had two hits. . .LSU batters were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position. . .The home runs by Ross and Lewis were their first of the year. Reynolds had not allowed a homer in 17 innings before Tuesday's game. . .LSU is 27-2, while Alcorn State is 6-27. . .The only other LSU team to win 27 of its first 29 games was the 1986 squad. . .The Tigers have now won nine games in a row. Earlier this year, LSU had a 12-game winning streak. The last time the Tigers had two winning streaks of at least nine games in the same season was 2008. LSU had winning streaks of nine games and 23 games that year. . .The actual crowd was 4,203.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"Something we pride ourselves on at LSU is that if you wear the uniform, we have confidence that you will go in and do the job. We play those other guys to keep them sharp and get them some experience. We also want them to know their hard work in practice gets recognized. The guys who step in usually do well for us."
"It was important for Alex (Edward) to have a night like this. He is a seasoned veteran. I told him a few weeks ago that I was going to give some other guys a chance. He did the job tonight. There is a pretty good chance he'll be in there against the lefthanders (from Kentucky) this weekend."
"Devall really did a nice job. His fourth inning was a little weird with the two walks and the hit batter, but he came back to get a big strikeout. He threw some good curve balls tonight, better than he had been."
"It felt great to get out there tonight. My last two outings against Nicholls (State) and Tulane were not my best. It felt good to get that touch on the ball again. I went out there with a lot of confidence. It surprised me that they let me throw four since I had not thrown more than two innings this year. Tonight, they gave me the opportunity. We were down 3-0 when I came in. I just tried to throw goose eggs and give my team the opportunity to come back."
"It took us awhile to get going. That was just one of those things. Hunter Devall pitched great and kept us in the game. Honestly, I haven't felt too great at the plate lately. I have had trouble with consistency this year. I squared some balls up tonight."
"We can put any guy in at any time and we don't miss a beat. That's what a good team can do. We needed to string together some hits tonight. He had some good at-bats and battled back after getting behind."
LSU will play Southern Mississippi (11-16) at Zephyr Field in Metairie in the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Classic on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles are 3-3 against Southeastern Conference teams this year - three victories against Missouri and losses to Alabama, Mississippi State and Auburn. Cody Glenn (4-1, 3.38 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers.