LSU baseball batters Maryland for series sweep

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU's Ty Ross (26) is congratulated by teammates Jacoby Jones (23) and Christian Ibarra (14) after hitting a three-run homer in the fourth inning of LSU's 14-3 victory over Maryland in LSU's Alex Box Baseball Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU's Ty Ross (26) is congratulated by teammates Jacoby Jones (23) and Christian Ibarra (14) after hitting a three-run homer in the fourth inning of LSU's 14-3 victory over Maryland in LSU's Alex Box Baseball Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.

LSU’s hitting came to life as the Tigers battered Maryland 14-3 to complete a three-game, season-opening sweep Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.

JaCoby Jones and Ty Ross hit LSU’s first two home runs of the season, and the Tigers had 14 hits against seven pitchers. LSU broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fourth and took command with an eight-run seventh.

Alex Bregman had three singles, two walks, three runs and an RBI. Jones added an RBI single to his homer, and Christian Ibarra had two hits, including a two-run double, as eight of nine starters had at least one hit.

“We came out hot today,” Bregman said. “We were swinging the bats well. Everybody was really locked in at the plate.”

The weather was more moderate than it had been the first two games as the temperatures warmed to the mid-50s under sunny skies and the wind was blowing out to left-center, where both homers went.

“It was a pitcher’s park the first two days,” Ross said. “Once the wind changed, it was a hitter’s day. We got our nerves out the way the first two days, and today we opened up and showed everybody how good our offense can be.”

Nate Fury, the second of six Tigers pitchers, got the win after pitching a perfect fifth in his debut relief of Brent Bonvillain, who made his first start in two seasons as a Tiger.

Maryland tied the score at 2 with a pair of runs in the fourth, but the Tigers answered in the bottom half. Mason Katz and Jones began the rally with walks, finishing starter Alex Robinson (0-1). Alex Edward sacrificed them over before Ross homered to left off Jake Drossner to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead.

LSU increased the lead to 6-2 in the fifth as Bregman walked leading off, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Katz’s first hit of the season, a single to left.

After the Terrapins scored a run against Russell Reynolds in the seventh, the Tigers scored eight in the bottom half of the inning.

Jones had an RBI single, pinch hitter Tyler Moore added a two-run single, Christian Ibarra had a two-run double, Andrew Stevenson chipped in an RBI single and the final two runs scored when third baseman K.J. Hockaday misplayed Katz’s grounder.

LSU took a 1-0 lead when Jones drove a 3-1 fastball from Robinson into the left-center bleachers in the second.

“JaCoby really got us out of that little funk and started it off,” Bregman said.

Jones, who was 3-for-7 with four walks for the series, said he got the pitch he was looking for.

“I was just being patient at the plate,” he said. “I zoned in one pitch, and he threw it to me and I hit it pretty good.”

Coach Paul Mainieri said Jones was the first player to arrive at the park at 7:30 a.m.

“I told him, ‘The conditions have changed. I can feel it in my bones. You’re going to hit one out today,’ ” Mainieri said. “I’ve never said that to him before because I don’t want him to think like that because he would overswing, but he’s maturing.”

The Tigers increased the lead to 2-0 when Bregman singled home Chris Sciambra in the third.

The Terrapins tied the score in the fourth. Hockaday and Matt Bosse singled before LaMonte Wade hit a sacrifice fly.

Bonvillain hit Jack Cleary with a pitch, putting runners at first and second.

Bonvillain struck out Blake Schmit and looked like he would escape with the lead when he got Jose Cuas to hit a high pop-up into shallow right-center, but Jones lost the ball and it dropped in for an error as Bosse scored.

“I lost it in the sun, but I should have made the catch,” he said. “I’ll make the next one.”

Coincidentally, Jones lofted a fly ball into the sun in right-center during the seventh, and it fell between the Maryland outfielders for an RBI single.

LSU hosts Lamar at 6 p.m. Tuesday.