NEW ORLEANS, La. - A four-run fifth inning, including a three-run homer by Tulane second baseman Brennan Middleton, and 5.1 shutout innings by starting pitcher Kyle McKenzie powered the Green Wave to a 9-1 victory over No. 27 LSU Tuesday night at Turchin Stadium.
McKenzie (2-1) allowed no runs on only two hits in 5.1 innings of work with five strikeouts. Daniel Bradshaw (5-1) was charged with the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits through 4.2 innings.
The Tigers (34-19) will host Mississippi State in the final regular-season series of the year beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium. Tulane improved to 31-22 with the win.
"Our focus turns now to a very important series against Mississippi State," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We still have an opportunity to earn a postseason berth and keep our goals in sight. We're looking forward to being back at home for a very meaningful series."
LSU will earn a berth in the SEC Tournament if it wins all three games against the Bulldogs. The Tigers will also qualify if it wins two games against MSU and either Tennessee or Alabama does not post a sweep of their series in Knoxville. LSU can also get in if it wins one more game than Kentucky this weekend-the Wildcats play at Georgia.
The Green Wave pitching staff limited the Tigers to only five hits in Tuesday's contest. Shortstop Austin Nola went 2-for-4 for LSU with a home run in the ninth.
Tulane got out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning Tuesday night when catcher Jeremy Schaffer lifted an RBI single over Nola's head at short to score Matt Ryan from second. The next batter, Blake Crohan singled up the middle, scoring Rob Segedin from second to make the score 2-0.
Bradshaw held the Green Wave hitless over the next 2.2 innings before designated hitter Gunner Wright launched a solo homer in the fourth to extend Tulane's lead to 3-0. The homer was Wright's second of the year.
Green Wave starter Kyle McKenzie did not allow a base runner in the first 4.1 innings before Nola beat out an infield grounder in the fifth to end the freshman's perfect stretch. The Tigers managed to load the bases with two outs in the inning before McKenzie forced Tyler Hanover to pop out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tulane went up 4-0 on an RBI single by Crohan. The next batter, Brennan Middleton, blasted a three-run homer to make the score 7-0. Middleton's homer was his third of the season.
After Tulane plated a run in the sixth on an infield error by Wet Delatte, Matt Ryan launched a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth to increase the Green Wave lead to 9-0. Ryan finished the game 3-for-4 with four runs scored.
LSU got on the board in the ninth inning when Nola lifted a solo homer off reliever David Napoli to make the score 9-1. The homer was Nola's fifth of the season.