BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU freshman second baseman JaCoby Jones delivered four hits and three runs and designated hitter Raph Rhymes drove in four runs to spearhead the 13th-ranked Tigers (5-0) to a 12-3 victory over Holy Cross (0-1) Friday night in Game 1 of the weekend series in Alex Box Stadium.
Game 2 begins Saturday at 3 p.m. CST. Live video, audio and stats may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. The contest can also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Freshman right-hander Kurt McCune (1-0) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Tigers Saturday. Holy Cross is expected to counter with junior right-hander Matt Croglio (0-0).
Jones, a native of Richton, Miss., is the first LSU freshman to record four hits in a game since Micah Gibbs went 4-for-5 in a victory over New Orleans on May 13, 2008. Jones raised his average to .588 through the Tigers' first five games of the season.
Rhymes, who finished 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, has seven RBI in the past two games. Junior shortstop Austin Nola collected two hits, including a double, and three RBI.
Freshman right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-0) earned his first career victory as he hurled six innings, allowing only four hits and striking out seven. Holy Cross starter John Pedrotty (0-1) was charged with the loss. The lefty surrendered five earned runs on five hits and six walks in four innings.
"I don't think JaCoby can hit .588 the whole year," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, "but he's a great athlete and he's off to a very hot start. Austin Nola continues to show that he's a complete ball player; he earned a reputation early in his career as a great defensive player, but he's proving that he can swing the bat as well.
"I thought Gausman threw the ball well tonight; he made some mistakes, but he also learned a lot about what it's going to take to win once he starts pitching in an SEC series."
With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, the Tigers drew four straight walks to plate a run and take an early 1-0 lead. Right fielder Mason Katz, who drew the fourth base on balls, was credited with an RBI.
Holy Cross struck back in the top of the second when second baseman Andrew Barry cranked a two-run dinger over the left field wall to give the Crusaders a 2-1 advantage.
LSU tied it up at 2-2 in the bottom of the third. Nola lined an RBI double into left field to score Rhymes.
The Tigers pushed three runs across in the bottom of the fourth to retake a 5-2 lead. Rhymes notched an RBI on a grounder to break the 2-2 tie. Then, following a walk from third baseman Tyler Hanover and a double from center fielder Mikie Mahtook, Nola laced a base hit to center to bring two runs home.
Holy Cross got one back in the top of the fifth to cut LSU's lead to 5-3. Crusader shortstop Alex Maldonado drove in a run on an RBI single.
LSU responded with a three-run fifth when Rhymes came through with a bases-clearing double to the gap in left center to put the Tigers up, 8-3.
The Tigers broke the game open in the bottom of the six with four runs to take a commanding 12-3 advantage. Following an RBI from catcher Ty Ross on a well-executed safety squeeze and an RBI double from Jones, left fielder Trey Watkins blasted a two-run homer over the left field wall, his second in two games.
LSU 12, Holy Cross 3 (Feb 25, 2011 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Holy Cross.......... 020 010 000 - 3 6 2 (0-1)
LSU................... 101 334 00X - 12 11 1 (5-0)
Pitchers: Holy Cross - John Pedrotty; Tommy Marra(5); Josh Hauser(7) and Stephen Wadsworth;
LSU - Kevin Gausman; Kevin Berry(7); Nick Rumbelow(8); Samuel Peterson(9) and
Ty Ross; Jordy Snikeris.
Win-Kevin Gausman(1-0) Loss-John Pedrotty(0-1) T-3:03 A-11082
HR HC - Andrew Barry (1).
HR LSU - Trey Watkins (2).
Actual Attendance: 7,864