Early homers, top of lineup lift LSU over Washington
Mason Katz hit his third home run in two games and Ty Ross also homered as LSU finished a three-game sweep and won its 10th straight by beating Washington 7-5 on Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.
Katz, who homered in his first two at bats Saturday, homered his first time up Sunday for his team-leading fifth of the season. Ross homered later in the inning to give the Tigers the lead for good, 3-2.
The wind was blowing out to left field at 25 mph and gusting to 37, which got Katz’s attention.
“I got two strikes and I shortened up my swing,” Katz said. “With the wind blowing like this. I just wanted to put a good swing on it and let the wind help me out a little bit.”
The top three hitters in the order — Chris Sciambra (two for five), Mark Laird (four for five) and Alex Bregman (two for four) — had eight of LSU’s 11 hits, but the Tigers left nine runners on base.
“We hit the ball very well at times, but we didn’t finish off a lot of innings,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We had an awful lot of opportunities. We just didn’t come up with the dagger to put other team away,”
Left-hander Cody Glenn (3-0) gave up his first two earned runs of the season but pitched a solid 52⁄3 innings as the Tigers starter got the victory for the fourth consecutive game.
“Early on, I didn’t have my best stuff and I was leaving the ball up a little bit,” Glenn said. “It showed in the first two innings and a little bit into the third inning, and that’s why they were able to scratch a couple off of me.
“I was proud of the way I bounced back from it and was able to battle and compete and get as deep into the game as I could for my team.”
Five relievers followed Glenn. Nick Rumbelow allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning, Hunter Newman gave up one run in one inning, Brent Bonvillain allowed a single to the only batter he faced, Joey Bourgeois retired the only two batters he faced and Chris Cotton pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
“At the very end of game, we got some really big pitches, particularly from Bourgeois and Cotton,” Mainieri said.
The defense helped out as JaCoby Jones made a leaping catch of a liner at second, Bregman chased down a pop-up over his head in short left, Katz made a diving stab at first and threw from his knees for an out and Sciambra played a ball off the ball in the left for just a single and made a diving catch.
LSU (15-1) will play Nicholls State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Alex Box. The Huskies are 4-11.
Washington took its only lead of the series when it broke a scoreless tie by scoring two runs in the second, but that didn’t last long.
Raph Rhymes led off the bottom half with a walk and Katz homered to left off starter Tyler Davis. Two outs later Ross, who’s batting just .209, drilled a ball beyond the left-field bleachers for his second homer of the season and a 3-2 lead.
“I’ve been making some hard outs. The hits will come,” Ross said. “I’m trying to keep having team at-bats and hit guys over, hit guys in and be a catcher most of all.”
The Tigers increased the lead to 4-2 in the third as Sciambra led off with a double, went to third on Laird’s single and scored on Bregman’s single.
LSU scored two in the fifth as Laird led off with a bunt single, Bregman tripled him home and Bregman went home when Erik Forgione threw the ball away from short on a relay.
Laird singled home Sciambra, who had doubled, in the sixth to make it 7-2. Sciambra had the first two-double game of his career and his first multi-hit game since Feb. 19.
“I just needed to go up to the plate today and be a little bit more aggressive,” Sciambra said, “try and jump on some balls and hit some hard. They found some holes today, which was a good feeling.”
The Huskies scored two in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Michael Camporeale and Will Sparks started the second inning against Glenn with consecutive singles and Andrew Ely sacrificed them over.
A wild pitch brought home the first run and Erik Forgione’s groundout brought home the second.
After that Glenn pitched around two hits in the third and allowed just one more hit.
“Every ground ball seemed to find a hole even the ones that weren’t hit hard (early on),” Mainieri said. “I was really proud of Cody because he didn’t lose composure and get frustrated. He continued to make good pitches and improved as the game went on.”