The eighth-ranked LSU Tigers (28-9-1, 8-6-1) proved their worth as a perennial top-tier team in the nation as they bashed their way to a 13-5 win over Southern Miss Tuesday night at Zephyr Field.
Participants in three of the last six College World Series, the Tigers got things started early in the bottom of the first inning. LSU plated three runs on four hits off of USM starter Cody Carroll in the first inning.
USM answered back though in the second inning, tying the game with a three-run homer by catcher Austin Roussel that landed in a pool behind the right field fence. LSU recaptured the lead in the bottom of the inning when Mark Laird singled in Kramer Robertson who reached on a throwing error by Bradley Roney. Laird later scored on a double from one of the best players in the country, Alex Bregman.
Bregman was named the 2013 National Freshman of the Year and also won the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s best shortstop. Those are just a couple of his accomplishments thus far in his young career as a Tiger.
Southern Miss led off the third inning with three consecutive hits from Breck Kline, Michael Sterling and Tim Lynch that plated a run. Roussel walked later in the inning with the bases loaded to tie up the game.
But once again, LSU took back the lead right away. Jake Winston replaced Carroll, who gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in just two innings, to begin the bottom of the third and did not have much success either. He allowed a run in the third inning with a bases loaded walk, but the damage was not done there.
After USM failed to score in the top of the fourth inning, LSU exploded at the plate. Winston was only able to get one out in the inning and was charged with four more runs. Winston lasted just 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks to take the loss and drop his record to 3-3 for the season. Most of the damage was done on a two-run double from LSU third basemen Christian Ibarra.
Down 10-5 after the fourth inning, USM was not able to muster any more offense for the rest of the game in hopes of a comeback. The only hit USM had the rest of the way was a single up the middle by Dylan Burdeaux in the sixth inning.
LSU was not done at the plate however. With James McMahon on the mound for USM in the seventh inning, LSU was able to be patient as he struggled with his command. McMahon walked three batters and gave up a single before being lifted for Nick Johnson. Johnson allowed a two-RBI single to Ibarra, but since McMahon was responsible for the runners on base, he was charged with the runs.
Center fielder Andrew Stevenson paced the Tigers at the plate going 4-4 with two RBIs. Ibarra finished with four RBIs for the game while Bregman and Laird each had two.
Roussel had the best night at the plate for the Golden Eagles as he collected a career-high four RBIs. Burdeaux was the only Golden Eagle to record two hits in the game. Five LSU hitters each collected at least two hits.
“This was a good night for us, we got to use a lot of players and we generated some offense,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was tough to play in the very cold, very windy conditions we had tonight, but our players overcame it and did a nice job.”
Southern Miss (21-17, 10-5) will look to get back on track this weekend when they host conference foe Louisiana Tech (10-24, 4-14) for a three-game series.