BATON ROUGE, La. -- No. 2 LSU (16-1) exploded for a five-run eighth inning in a win over Nicholls State (9-9) Wednesday night in Alex Box Stadium, extending the Tigers' win streak to 11 games.
The five-run inning was aided in part by a two-run home run by first baseman Mason Katz, marking his sixth long ball on the season. Katz also recorded three RBI in the game, giving him 22 during the Tigers' win streak.
Before Katz' dinger, shortstop Alex Bregman and left fielder Raph Rhymes contributed to the big eighth inning. Bregman reached base for his fourth time in the game by scorching a double into the left-center gap, plating two runners. Rhymes flew out to deep center, allowing right fielder Chris Sciambra to tag up and score.
The heart of the Tigers' order drove in six of the team's nine runs and combined for five runs.
The Tigers will travel to Starkville this weekend to take on No. 10 Mississippi State. Game 1 of the series begins at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday. Game 2, starting at 6 p.m. CT Saturday, will be televised by CSS and Sunday's Game 3 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. CT. All three games may be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, and live audio and stats will be available through the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
The win gave LSU the season sweep over the Colonels after a 2-0 victory on March 3.
"I could tell three hours before this game that our focus just wasn't there, and it showed a bit in this game," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "We just didn't have that same intensity and sense of urgency that we normally have. You preach as much as you can about playing one game at a time, but these players are human, and they were thinking ahead to our first SEC series this weekend."
LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra provided the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh when he drove in Bregman and broke a 3-3 tie.
Ten LSU pitchers, spearheaded by Russell Reynolds's two scoreless innings in his first career start, saw action in the contest as the Tigers prepared their staff for the SEC weekend series.
LSU reliever Brent Bonvillain (1-0) picked up his first victory of the season after entering a tied 3-3 game in the top of the seventh. The lefty recorded the third out of the inning.
Nicholls reliever Kelby Langston (0-3) was charged with the loss after allowing Ibarra's single in the seventh. Starter Brand Jackson was solid through five and allowed three earned on eight hits.
LSU center fielder Mark Laird continued his eight-game hit streak with a single in the first and ended the game with a pair of singles and a run. Sciambra reached base four times after walking three times and being hit by a pitch.
Nicholls scored a run in the third off of Hunter Newman and two in the fifth off of Hunter Devall. The Colonels committed five errors on the night, which led to two runs in the bottom of the second and one run in the bottom of the second for LSU.
LSU 9, Nicholls 3 (Mar 13, 2013 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Nicholls............ 001 020 000 - 3 6 5 (9-9)
LSU................. 020 010 15X - 9 13 0 (16-1)
Pitchers: Nicholls - Jackson, Brandon; Borne, Grant(6); Langston, Kelby(7); Miller, Chris(8);
McCoy, Jordan(8) and Dufrene, Cody. LSU - Russell Reynolds; Hunter Newman(3); Hunter Devall(4);
Will LaMarche(6); Nick Rumbelow(7); Brent Bonvillain(7); Joey Bourgeois(8); Kevin Berry(8);
Nate Fury(9); Chris Cotton(9) and Ty Ross.
Win-Brent Bonvillain(1-0) Loss-Langston, Kelby(0-3) T-2:36 A-10707
HR LSU - Mason Katz (6).
Actual Attendance: 4,775