BATON ROUGE, La. - Junior leftfielder Raph Rhymes provided three hits and three RBI Wednesday night as No. 1 LSU (31-7) recorded a 5-4 win over Lamar (13-22) in Alex Box Stadium.
With the victory, the Tigers have won 14 out of 15 games, including the last seven in a row. LSU will travel to Lexington on Friday to take on No. 2 Kentucky.
Game 1 of the LSU-Kentucky series begins at 5:30 p.m. CT Friday, Game 2 starts at 1 p.m. CT Saturday and first pitch for Game 3 is Noon CT Sunday. All three games may be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, and live audio and stats will be available at www.LSUsports.net.
The LSU-Kentucky games on Friday and Saturday will be televised by Fox Sports South, and they can be seen in Louisiana on Fox College Sports (Cox Cable Ch. 255).
Ben Coram (1-2) took the loss for Lamar after allowing the decisive run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"I felt this might be a trap game for us because we had just completed a run of three very emotional SEC series, and Lamar has a very scrappy ball club," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We showed a lot of determination in coming back three different times from deficits, and the most important thing is that we earned a win."
Joe Broussard (4-0) started the game for LSU and struck out two in two innings of work. Seven pitchers combined to strike out 10 Cardinals in the game.
Lamar grabbed the early 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Third baseman Darian Johnson launched a two-run homer to right field after Jude Vidrine's leadoff single. Broussard settled down and struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.
LSU knotted the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the first inning. Centerfielder Arby Fields and rightfielder Mason Katz connected on consecutive one-out singles. Rhymes plated both runners with a double down the left field line.
"I can't tell you how nice it is to know that Raph Rhymes is on our team," Mainieri said. "I've never had a player square up a ball the way he does, and he came through for us once again in clutch situations."
Lamar took the lead back in the top of the third. Vidrine led off the inning with a single and a pitch hit Garret Autrey. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and Vidrine scored on Johnson's RBI ground out.
LSU tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Rhymes, first baseman Tyler Moore and Ross each connected on singles to load the bases. Hanover greeted new pitcher John Gilligan with a single to center that scored Rhymes.
Lamar plated a run in the top of the fifth. Autrey led off the inning and proceeded to steal second. After a sacrifice bunt, Brad Picha's ground out scored Autrey from third.
The Cardinals threatened to add more runs with two outs. Jeff Abt singled and moved to third on Seth Dornak's double to left. Nick Rumbelow relieved Brent Bonvillain and struck out pinch hitter Thomas Henk to end the threat.
LSU evened the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Shor stop Austin Nola led off the inning with a double over the centerfielder's head and moved to third on Moore's ground out to the right side. Ross' sacrifice fly to right scored Nola and tied the game.
The Tigers took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh. Dozar and Jones led off the inning with back-to-back walks and Jared Foster entered the game to pinch run for Dozar. Rhymes later ripped a two-out RBI single up the middle to score Foster with the go-ahead run.
LSU 5, Lamar 4 (Apr 18, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Lamar............... 201 010 000 - 4 8 0 (13-22)
LSU................. 200 101 10X - 5 10 0 (31-7)
Pitchers: Lamar - Beasley, Andrew; Angelle, Chase(3); Gilligan, John(4); Chapman, Collin(4); Coram, Ben(7); Trimm, Machon(7); Maxwell, Vernnon(7) and Luevanos, Zach; Henk, Thomas; Campbell, Cameron.
LSU - Joe Broussard; Cody Glenn(3); Kevin Berry(4); Brent Bonvillain(4); Nick Rumbelow(5); Chris Cotton(6); Kurt McCune(8); Nick Goody(9) and Ty Ross.
Win-Chris Cotton(4-0) Save-Nick Goody(5) Loss-Coram, Ben(1-2) T-3:02 A-10118
HR LU - Johnson, Darian (3).
Actual Attendance: 3,768
Coram, Ben faced 2 batters in the 7th.