First baseman’s homers lift Tigers past Washington, 8-4
Mason Katz hit two home runs and drove in five runs as LSU defeated Washington 8-4
Saturday night in Alex Box Stadium.
Katz had the first multi-
homer game of his four-year career, hitting a three-run homer in the first and a solo homer in the third against Huskies ace Austin Voth (2-2). Katz drove in another run with a fielder’s-choice grounder in the fourth.
In the first inning, he battled back from an 0-2 hole to work the count full and foul off a 3-2 pitch before lining a fastball into the bleachers in left.
“(Voth) was doing a really good job of mixing up his pitches,” Katz said. “I was just trying to get one run, and I was lucky enough to get three of them.”
For the second consecutive night, the Tigers’ starting pitcher was outstanding — except for one poor inning. On Friday, Aaron Nola was perfect for the first six innings, then allowed four runs in the seventh inning of a 9-4 victory.
On Saturday, Ryan Eades
(3-0) gave up five hits and four runs in a shaky fourth, but otherwise allowed just one hit and two walks in a 6.2-inning stint.
“It was like déjà vu,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “The difference between last night and tonight was that it happened earlier tonight. Nola’s tank was empty. Ryan had something left in the tank.”
Joey Bourgeois pitched a perfect 1.1 innings, and Will
LaMarche allowed just a two-out single in a scoreless ninth.
Mainieri had closer Chris Cotton warming in the bullpen in the ninth, but gave an opportunity to LaMarche, who had a 4.50 ERA in middle-inning and mop-up duty.
“You want to be a guy that is counted on,” LaMarche said. “That’s what I came here for. I like the close ones.”
LSU — now 14-1 overall after winning its ninth straight game — faces Washington (4-10) again at 1 p.m. Sunday in their series finale.
After the Huskies got within 5-4 in the fourth, the Tigers added to the lead in the bottom half.
Mark Laird singled, and Alex Bregman doubled him to third. Trevor Dunlap replaced Voth, and Raph Rhymes and Katz hit RBI grounders.
Pinch hitter Chris Chinea had an RBI single in the seventh.
After the Huskies’ fourth, Eades — who allowed just a single in the first three
innings — settled down again. He
allowed a two-out walk in the fifth, retired the side in order in the sixth and allowed a two-out walk in the seventh before being relieved by Bourgeois.
Bregman started LSU’s first-inning rally with a two-out double off the wall in left, and Rhymes followed with a walk in front of Katz’s first homer.
The Tigers increased the lead to 4-0 in the second when Chris Sciambra walked, Laird sacrificed him to second, and Voth threw two wild pitches that brought Sciambra home.
In the third, Katz hit a longer homer off Voth as the ball cleared the bleachers in left for his team-leading fourth of the season.
Eades gave up back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning, then got consecutive strikeouts.
Will Sparks singled to load the bases, and Eades yielded RBI singles to Andrew Ely and Ty Afenir. Additional runs scored on throwing errors by Sciambra in right and Bregman at short on the RBI hits, but all the runs were earned.
“It kind of spiraled a little bit,” Eades said. “I just left a few pitches up and they put some good swings on them. After the inning, (pitching coach Alan Dunn) sat by me and told me to take a deep breath, relax, clear my mind, get focused and try to get one out at a time. That’s what I tried to do.”