The LSU baseball team finished its pre-Southeastern Conference schedule with a 16-1 record and an 11-game winning streak.
Though the Tigers’ closer-than-it-sounds 9-3 victory against Nicholls State on Wednesday night in Alex Box Stadium wasn’t of SEC caliber, they can take solace in the fact that they saw just about anything they could possibly see when they begin league play at Mississippi State this weekend.
“That was interesting,” said first baseman Mason Katz, who hit his fourth homer in three games during a five-run LSU eighth inning. “There was definitely a lot of weird stuff, some good and some bad.”
The Tigers hit into a triple play against a team that would go on to commit five errors, though none of the runs were unearned.
They threw out two Colonels runners on the bases and benefited from another running out of the baseline, but they saw two of their own runners thrown out on the bases.
They threw in a balk for good measure and overcame uneven performances from the bullpen to beat Nicholls (9-9) for the second time in 11 days.
Christian Ibarra’s two-out RBI single broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh against Kelby Langston (0-3), and Alex Bregman’s two-run double and Raph Rhymes’ sacrifice fly preceded Katz’s sixth home run in the eighth.
“When I got that (tie-breaking) hit I was like, “OK we got the lead, that’s all that matters,” Ibarra said. “Then, in the eighth inning we got those clutch hits.”
Brent Bonvillain (1-0), the sixth of 10 LSU pitchers, got the victory after retiring the only batter he faced to end the seventh.
“This was certainly a trap game for us,” Tigers coach Paul Mainieri said. “The focus just wasn’t there and you can understand it. The kids are so excited about getting to Starkville and playing in the first SEC series. I knew they didn’t have their mind totally, totally in it. A couple of pitchers did OK, not many.”
One who did was freshman Russell Reynolds of Parkview Baptist, who allowed just one hit while pitching two scoreless innings in his first start.
Another was Joey Bourgeois, who took a hard liner off his right leg to start the eighth. Bourgeois recovered to pick up the ball and get the out at first, but then had to leave. Mainieri said he expects Bourgeois to be sore Thursday but ready to pitch Friday.
Chris Sciambra led off the first with the first of his three walks and Mark Laird singled him to second. Bregman hit a line drive, but second baseman Philip Lyons caught the ball on the run toward second, stepped on the bag to get Sciambra and threw to first to get Laird for the triple play.
LSU scored two in the second on an RBI single by Ibarra and a throwing error by left fielder David Zorn.
Nicholls got a run off Hunter Newman in the third on Tyler Duplantis’ leadoff double, Zorn’s sacrifice bunt and Matt Richard’s sacrifice fly.
The Colonels took the lead against Hunter Devall in the fifth on RBI singles by Zorn and Richard.
They might have scored more, but Cody Dufrene was called out for running out of the baseline when Devall’s throw to first on the bunt hit Dufrene in the back and Zorn was thrown out at the plate.
Laird’s bunt single, Lyons’ error on Bregman’s grounder and Katz’s RBI single tied the score in the bottom half, which ended with Bregman being thrown out at the plate on JaCoby Jones’ single.