Both JaCoby Jones and Christian Ibarra had three hits and drove in a run as LSU defeated McNeese State 7-3 at The Box on Tuesday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU first inning - With one out, Mark Laird singled. After Alex Bregman flied out to rightfield, Laird stole second base. Mason Katz singled home Laird. LSU 1, MC NEESE STATE 0
LSU second inning - Ibarra hit a leadoff home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 2, MC NEESE STATE 0
LSU fifth inning - Laird doubled. After Bregman grounded out to shortstop, Laird advanced to third on a single by Katz. Raph Rhymes drove home Laird with a sacrifice fly to rightfield. LSU 3, MC NEESE STATE 0
LSU sixth inning - Ibarra singled and moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Ty Ross. Ibarra scored on a single by Jones. A pinch-hit single by Tyler Moore loaded the bases. Ross scored on a walk to Sean McMullen. Laird forced McMullen at second base with Jones scoring. Andrew Stevenson, who ran for Moore, came home on a single by Bregman. LSU 7, MC NEESE STATE 0
McNeese State seventh inning - With one out, Lucas Quary singled. Quary went to third and Sam Peterson reached on a throwing error by the third baseman Ibarra. Connor Lloyd singled home Quary. Peterson scored when second baseman Casey Yocom misplayed Tyler Klouser's ground ball. LSU 7, MC NEESE STATE 2
McNeese State ninth inning - Peterson hit a leadoff home run over the leftfield fence. LSU 7, MC NEESE STATE 3
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
Fourth inning - Ibarra singled and moved to second on Ross' sacrifice bunt and to third on a single by Jones. Ibarra was stranded at third as Jared Foster fouled out to third base and McMullen flied out to centerfield.
LSU HITTING STARS
Jones had Ibarra had three-hit nights. Jones singled in all three of his plate appearances. His sixth-inning single drove in a run. Jones has eight hits in 13 at-bats in the last four games. Ibarra had his first multiple-hit game since last week against Tulane. He was 3-for-4, including a leadoff homer in the second. Ibarra's home run was his fifth of the season. Only Katz, who has 13 home runs, has hit more round-trippers for the Tigers. Ibarra had just one hit in nine official at-bats against South Carolina.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Hunter Newman matched his season-high with three innings. He allowed two hits and no runs with one strikeout. McNeese State put runners in scoring position in both the second and third innings, but Newman escaped both times. In the second, he got Connor Lloyd to ground out to Bregman at shortstop with two out and a runner on second. One inning later, Newman got Chayse Marion to fly out to Laird in centerfield with two out and a runner on third. Newman received credit for his first victory since it was predetermined that LSU was going to use more than two pitchers.
Will LaMarche threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. His best pitching came in the fifth when McNeese State put a runner on third with one out. LaMarche struck out both Tyler Klouser and Cameron Toole. Nate Fury tossed a perfect sixth with one strikeout. Mitch Sewald, who made his second appearance of the season, gave up two unearned runs in the seventh. After getting the first batter out in the eighth, Sewald was relieved by Nick Rumbelow. Two of the three hitters Rumbelow faced struck out. The other one had an infield hit. Taylor Butler allowed a leadoff homer to Peterson before getting two outs in the ninth. Kevin Berry yielded a single before registering a game-ending strikeout. The six LSU relievers struck out nine and walked none. Each reliever except for Butler had a strikeout.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri decided to juggle his pitching plans for the week. He held out Cody Glenn in favor of Newman. Glenn will start the series opener Thursday against Florida. Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades will go in their normal spots on Friday and Saturday, respectively. . .Laird returned to the starting lineup in centerfield. Foster batted ninth and played rightfield. . .Four Tigers players extended hitting streaks in the first two innings. Laird now has a four-game hitting streak after a single in the first. Jones extended his hitting streak to four games with a second-inning single. Foster has a five-game hitting streak after his single in the second. McMullen extended his hitting streak to eight games after picking up a single in the second. . .Both Laird and Katz had their first multiple-hit games in a long time. Laird, who singled and doubled, had his last multiple-hit game on March 24 against Auburn. Laird was 17-for-83 (.205) since that game. Katz, who had two singles, had his last multiple-hit game on April 10 against Southern. Katz was 7-for-42 (.167) since that game. Katz also drove in his first run since that Southern game with a second-inning single. . .LSU was 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position. . .McNeese State starting pitcher Trey McGee was charged with three runs and nine hits in four innings. . .Peterson, who had three of the Cowboys' eight hits, was a freshman on LSU's 2011 team. . .The Tigers extended their winning streak against in-state opponents to 26 games. . .LSU is 40-6, while McNeese State is 20-22. . .The actual crowd was 3,104.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri:
"I am really proud of how well the kids played tonight. They had a good approach. The guys had fire in their eyes. We had a lot of very good swings. A couple of guys had big nights - Ibarra and Jones. But, Laird swung the bat extremely well as did Bregman and Katz. Ross had a good hit-and-run. Then, a lot of guys threw the ball well."
(on holding Glenn for Thursday start): "There is a chance there will be some poor weather Thursday. The last thing l want is for Aaron Nola to start, sit down after an inning for a rain delay and then get back up. We could lose him for the whole weekend. I was already concerned with him going with one day less rest after three straight complete games. I'm not sure his fast ball would have as much life. I didn't want to risk it with unstable weather. So, Cody Glenn will just go in the first game and Nola and (Ryan) Eades will take their normal turns."
(on the pitchers' performances): "I thought Newman did a good job. Mitch Sewald threw well. He didn't get real good defense behind him in that one inning. That was the best I've seen LaMarche throw. He looked like a major leaguer. He was real comfortable and real loose out there."
"All of us were real comfortable at the plate tonight. All of us were loose. On the at-bat when I hit the home run, I fouled one ball deep. Usually, they throw me a curve after that. But, this time, he threw me another fast ball."
"It was real important for us to play like this coming off two losses. We wanted to come out with fire in our eyes. Offensively, we got a lot of hits. We had to bounce back after losing a SEC series at home."
"It definitely felt real good to get two hits in a game. It has been just one of those things baseball players go through. I would rather go through this spell now than at the end of the year."
LSU will play host to Florida at The Box on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Gators (25-20, 12-9) are in fifth place in the overall Southeastern Conference standings. Cody Glenn (5-1, 3.13 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers.