Reserves, pitchers lead LSU past Sacred Heart

LSU took a look at some
reserve players and sent a
parade of pitchers to the mound in a lopsided victory for the
second consecutive night Wednesday at Alex Box Stadium.

Designated hitter Michael Barash made his first start and got his first run batted in and drew a walk, and outfielder
Jared Foster made his first start and had an RBI double and a single as the Tigers
defeated Sacred Heart 10-2.

On Tuesday night, Andrew Stevenson, Sean McMullen and Chris Chinea all moved into the starting lineup and had run-producing hits. All 16 of LSU’s position players played in at least one of the two games, and 15 of them reached base at least once.

“We came out and handled our business,” Foster said. “The top of the order has to get on base. If we get on base we have a very good chance of scoring with the guys we have hitting behind us.”

Junior right-hander Nick Rumbelow (1-0) made his first start in 42 career appearances and pitched two perfect innings for the victory, for which he was eligible because his short stint was predetermined.

“It was really great to get back out there and have an outing like that,” said Rumbelow, who was making just his third appearance of the season after being sidelined by a strained muscle in his side. “I was mixing my curveball in and getting it over the plate, so that was big for me.”

Four relievers followed Rumbelow. Hunter Newman gave up one run in three innings; Hunter Devall gave up three hits and a walk but no runs in two innings; Joey Bourgeois allowed two hits and a run in the eighth; and Chris Cotton pitched a perfect ninth.

“We got exactly what we wanted out of Rumbelow,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I was a little nervous going into the game because I knew I was going to take Rumbelow out after two and I knew I wasn’t going to use Bourgeois until the eighth. So we had innings two through seven where we were going to go with some young kids.”

Newman and Devall, who are both freshmen, helped the Tigers maintain their comfortable margin.

The Tigers had just three more hits than the Pioneers
(10-7), but Sacred Heart helped LSU’s cause with five errors.

The Tigers (12-1), who have won seven in a row, open a three-game weekend series against Washington at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box.

The Pioneers, who lost to
Stephen F. Austin 6-5 in 13
innings earlier Wednesday, are 0-5.

Sacred Heart starter Troy Scribner sailed through the first in order, striking out two, but ran into major problems in the second.

Raph Rhymes led off with a single that extended his hitting streak to 11 games and Mason Katz followed by extending his hit streak to 11 with an RBI-double. JaCoby Jones struck out before Scribner’s errant throw on a pickoff attempt sent Katz to third and Ty Ross walked. Barash followed with a single and his first career RBI.

“I was looking for a first-pitch fastball I could hit and luckily the guy threw me one,” Barash said. “First start, first at bat in the start. It felt great.”

Christian Ibarra singled home two more runs, and Foster’s RBI double and Mark Laird’s RBI single made it 6-0.

Newman, who had pitched just two innings this season, relieved Rumbelow to start the third and threw three innings. He had a perfect fourth, one runner reached in the fifth on Ibarra’s error at third and Rocco Gondek hit a solo homer in the fifth.

The Tigers scored two in the bottom of the fifth. Alex Bregman beat out an infield single, moved to second on a grounder and came around on two wild pitches by Scribner. Jones walked, stole second and scored when Ross singled off reliever Dan Wertz.

The Pioneers helped LSU score a run in the sixth. After two were out, Laird reached on third baseman Brian Lamboy’s two-base throwing error, advanced on Alex Bregman’s infield hit to short and continued home on Jesus Medina’s throwing error.

The Tigers’ final run scored in the eighth when Gondek dropped Alex Edward’s fly ball to right.