Bregman has four hits; LSU rocks Tulane 14-1

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELDLSU's Jacoby Jones forces Tulane runner Andrew Garner out at second base in the second inning during Tuesday's game at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans. The Tigers won 14-1 in eight innings.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELDLSU's Jacoby Jones forces Tulane runner Andrew Garner out at second base in the second inning during Tuesday's game at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans. The Tigers won 14-1 in eight innings.

NEW ORLEANS — Alex Bregman had four hits, and seven LSU players drove in runs as the Tigers kept rolling with a 14-1 college baseball victory over Tulane on Tuesday night in Turchin Stadium.

The game was called after eight innings because both coaches agreed before the game to apply the 10-run rule. The Tigers, who took a 5-0 lead in the first inning, extended their lead to 14-1 in the top of the eighth, and the game was stopped after the Green Wave failed to score in the bottom half, despite loading the bases with one out.

Bregman had four singles in four at bats after having three hits in each of his most recent four games. It was the 13th consecutive game and 18th in the past 19 that Bregman has had a hit as he raised his team-leading batting average to .462.

Mason Katz had three hits and four RBIs, Andrew Stevenson had two hits and two RBIs; Sean McMullen had three RBIs; and Bregman, Christian Ibarra, Sean McMullen, Tyler Moore and Chris Chinea drove in one run each.

“Right now, everybody feels confident at the plate,” said Bregman, who was named the Southeastern Conference hitter of the week Monday. “We’re getting early leads, and that’s making it easier for our pitchers.”

No. 2 LSU, which hasn’t trailed in its past five games, kept pace with the best start in school history as it improved to 23-2, matching the 1986 and 1997 teams. The Tigers return to SEC play when they play at Missouri in the opener of a three game series Friday.

The Tigers won their fifth straight and ninth in 11 games against the Green Wave, who come to Alex Box Stadium on April 2.

It was the largest margin of victory in the series since the Tigers’ 21-6 win in 2000.

Tulane (14-13) lost via the mercy rule for the second time in three games, having been beaten 16-0 by Memphis on Saturday. The Green Wave begin a three-game Conference USA series against Rice in Houston on Thursday.

LSU freshman right-hander Russell Reynolds (1-0) of Parkview Baptist had his third consecutive solid start, pitching a season-high seven innings and holding the Green Wave to four hits and one run.

The Tigers scored in the first inning for the fifth consecutive game, taking a 5-0 lead against another Parkview Baptist alumnus, left-hander Brady Wilson (1-2), before Tulane batted.

After one out, Laird walked, and Bregman and Raph Rhymes singled to load the bases. Katz lofted a fly ball just inside fair territory in right field for a two-run double. Ibarra’s sacrifice fly, an error by left fielder Andrew Garner and Stevenson’s RBI single made it 5-0.

“Right away we had a one-out, bases loaded situation, which a guy like me, who hits a lot of fly balls, loves,” Katz said. “When you get that many runs in the first inning, it livens up everybody on the team.”

In the second, Bregman’s RBI single finished Wilson, and reliever Daniel Rankin gave up Katz’s RBI single to make it 7-0.

Tulane got a run in the bottom half when Reynolds hit Sean Potkay, who went to second on a passed ball, third on Garner’s single, and scored on Richard Carthon’s fielder’s-choice grounder.

McMullen, making his fourth start of the season and second as the leadoff hitter, drove home a run in the third with a sacrifice fly and finished 1-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs.

“Coach (Paul Mainieri) told me before the game he just wanted me to have good at bats; he didn’t expect me to go 4-for-4,” said McMullen, who’s from Metairie and played at Brother Martin High School and Delgado Community College.

Reynolds got into trouble again in the third when he gave up a walk and single to start, but he got out of it with a double play and another grounder.

“When he came out after the third inning, I told him, ‘Don’t hit or walk another leadoff hitter if you want to keep pitching tonight,’ ” Mainieri said. “So he was inspired and he got into a groove and really pitched remarkably well.”

Reynolds retired the side in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth, then pitched around a hit and two errors in the seventh.

The Tigers made it 9-1 in the fourth on consecutive singles by Bregman, Rhymes and Katz.

Moore’s grounder, Stevenson’s RBI single, Chinea’s sacrifice fly, and McMullen’s two-run single drove in the eighth-inning runs.

“We were out of the ballgame before we ever really got it going,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “The thing that really impressed me so much about LSU — obviously Reynolds threw really well for them — but the thing that really impressed me about them was their approach at the plate.

“Every time we left a ball up in the zone — and we left a lot of balls up in the zone — they didn’t miss their chance. They got great swings, they barreled a lot of balls, they made some hard outs, and they just kept putting the pressure on.”