LSU Tigers win streak hits 10

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNISLSU's Chris Cotton closes out LSU's 7-5 win over Washington on Sunday in Alex Box Stadium.
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNISLSU's Chris Cotton closes out LSU's 7-5 win over Washington on Sunday in Alex Box Stadium.

LSU’s 7-5 victory against Washington on Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium pushed the Tigers’ winning streak to 10 games, the fifth double-digit win streak in coach Paul Mainieri’s seven seasons.

The 2011 team won 11 in row, the 2010 team won 12 in a row, the 2009 team 14 in a row, and the 2008 team had a 23-game winning streak.

LSU (15-1) has a game against Nicholls State on Wednesday at Alex Box Stadium before beginning Southeastern Conference play at Mississippi State next weekend.

“We’re going to get ready for Nicholls,” first baseman Mason Katz said.

“It was a tough game the last time (a 2-0 LSU victory March 3). But we’re right where we want to be. We’re ready to get going.”

Seeking bullpen depth

Mainieri is trying to find out how deep his bullpen is. Nick Rumbelow and Joey Bourgeois will set up closer Chris Cotton, but Mainieri is still trying to figure who else he can count on.

“You can’t do it with three starters and three guys out of the bullpen,” Mainieri said. “Somebody has to step up and show us that we can count on them.”

Mainieri gave Kevin Berry a shot to start the ninth Friday with the Tigers leading 9-4. But a hit, an Alex Bregman error and a hit batsmen loaded the bases and led Mainieri to bring in Cotton, who finished.

“I told the guys after the game Friday that I wasn’t real pleased with how we started the ninth inning,” Mainieri said. “I told the pitching staff I know we can count on Rumbelow, Bourgeois and Cotton, but when you get your opportunity, you’ve got to take that bull by the horns.”

Mainieri gave Will LaMarche a chance to finish Saturday’s game, and he allowed just a single while pitching a scoreless ninth.

“We challenged him, and I thought he threw the ball real well,” Mainieri said. “He threw it with a lot more conviction and was a lot more aggressive than the last time.”

LaMarche, who gave up a hit, three walks and a run in 1.1 innings against Sacred Heart on Wednesday, said he took Mainieri’s words to heart.

“He’s right,” LaMarche said. “There needs to be more guys. I want to be someone who steps into that.”

Eades bounces back

At times last season, Ryan Eades would fall victim to one bad inning, and it would often be his last one.

But when he gave up five hits and four runs in the fourth inning Saturday, he got out of it and threw another 1.2 scoreless innings before hitting his pitch count.

“I was especially pleased with Ryan Eades to give up the big inning and come back with a goose egg in the next inning and pitch into the following inning,” Mainieri said. “It takes a lot of fortitude to do that sort of thing.”

Eades is 3-0 and still has a 1.80 ERA despite the four-run inning.

“I think it’s a little bit of maturity and experience,” Eades said of his strong finish, “just not letting it lead to the next inning and putting it behind me and moving forward.”

Jones’ patience showing

Second baseman JaCoby Jones’ batting average has slipped to .213 after he went 5-for-12 in the first five games. But even when he hasn’t gotten hits, he has mostly shown more discipline than last season.

Jones set a career-high Sunday when he walked for the 16th time this season, and several of his recent outs have come on very hard-hit balls.

“I think he has shown more patience and more selectiveness,” Mainieri said. “That’s a result of his experience with us and playing summer ball in the Cape Cod League. He’s hit some balls hard but right at people. I think he’s getting better.”