BATON ROUGE -- LSU scored a season-high 15 runs -- including a six-run seventh inning -- to roll to its fourth straight win Saturday, 15-8, over Southern Miss in the second game of the Tigers’ final non-conference series at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (11-6) secured the series victory and tied their season high in hits with 13. The 15 runs marked the most runs by LSU since scoring 15 versus Centenary on Feb. 14, 2006.
The Golden Eagles (11-4) dropped their first series of the season. USM entered the weekend without allowing a run in over 20 innings. In the past two games, the Golden Eagles have surrendered 17 runs to LSU.
The Tigers go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday. Freshman T.J. Forrest (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his home debut on the mound for LSU against USM junior right-hander David Clark (1-1, 3.24).
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Shortstop Michael Hollander led the 13-hit attack, going 3-for-4 with a run and a career-high five RBI. The five RBI represented the most by an LSU player since Quinn Stewart drove in six against Stetson nearly a year ago to the day on March 11, 2006.
LSU also displayed its solid ability to bunt, steal bases and hit-and-run. Both Hollander and second baseman Chris Jackson had two steals apiece.
"I think we ran the bases great today, but we have been running the bases great all year," said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. "Guys are hustling and running smart. I told the guys at the beginning of the year that we don't have the fastest team in the country, but there is no reason why we can't be the best base-running team in the country. It's knowledge, it's hustle, it's anticipation and it's reaction."
Junior right-hander Jared Bradford (3-1) earned the victory on Saturday. Bradford, who was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday, allowed four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits in 5.2 innings. He walked three and struck out two.
"Today (Bradford) had his worst stuff but somehow he battled through it," said Mainieri. "I told him the true test of the great pitchers are the guys who could keep their teams in the game when they don't have great stuff."
USM starter Barry Bowden (1-2) worked 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and striking out three.
Bradford was touched for a run in each of the first two innings. USM took a 1-0 lead via an unearned run in the first. Leadoff hitter Trey Sutton singled, and shortstop Brian Dozier reached on an error by Hollander. With two outs, designated hitter Luke Adkins produced an RBI single.
A one-out walk in the second proved to be costly for Bradford. The Golden Eagles came through with another timely, two-hit out when Dozier ripped an RBI double to the left field gap.
LSU responded and erased the two-run deficit on a squeeze bunt from Hollander and an RBI single by Jackson in the third.
Bradford carried the momentum into the middle frames, working scoreless innings between the third and the fifth. Meanwhile, the Tigers' bats came alive and poured on 13 runs over the next four innings.
Schimpf had an RBI double with one out in the fourth. Hollander followed and dropped a bloop, two-run single into centerfield. Wise ended reliever Jared Cavenaugh's day with two outs in the fifth on an RBI double.
LSU scored three runs in the sixth when Ochinko connected on a two-out, three-run homer just inside the right field fair pole. It was Ochinko's team-leading third blast of the season, increasing the Tigers’ lead to 9-4 after USM scored twice in the top of the sixth.
"At that point in the game, I was rooting for a three-run homer," said Mainieri. "He got two strikes on him, and they left it up in the zone there. He hit it and I was just trying to blow it fair. It wasn't fair by a lot."
LSU put the game away with its biggest inning of the season in the seventh. Hollander singled in two runs, centerfielder Jared Mitchell had a two-run double, and pinch hitter Robert Lara drove in a run on a groundball to highlight the six-run barrage.
LSU 15, Southern Mississippi 8 (Mar 10, 2007 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Southern Mississippi 110 002 031 - 8 14 1 (11-4)
LSU........................ 002 313 60X - 15 13 2 (11-6)
Pitchers: Southern Mississippi - Barry Bowden; Jared Cavenaugh(4); Mike Cashion(5); Jonathan Johnston(7); Leighton Davis(7).
LSU - Jared Bradford; Darryl Shaffer(6); Matt Jackson(8).
Win-Jared Bradford (3-1) Loss-Barry Bowden (1-2) T-3:10 A-7958
HR USM - Trey Sutton (1).
HR LSU - Sean Ochinko (3).
Actual attendance: 3,746
Johnston faced 5 batters in the 7th.