Tigers surpass total of 1997 team
The LSU baseball team broke the school record for victories in a 56-game regular season with an 11-2 rout of the University of New Orleans on Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (46-7), who conclude the regular season with a three-game Southeastern Conference series against Ole Miss beginning Thursday at The Box, surpassed the record win total of the 1997 team, which finished 45-11. The Privateers (7-41) begin a three-game series at Campbell on Thursday.
“It’s great to be part of a team that makes history,” said designated hitter Sean McMullen, who had a double, a triple and two RBIs, “but we have a bunch of goals ahead of us. We’re not going to stop here.”
LSU scored five runs in the first inning and coasted from there as every position player got into the game. The Tigers finished with 17 hits and freshman reserve catcher Michael Barash hit his first home run.
Freshman right-hander Hunter Newman (2-0) threw five shutout innings in his second start of the season, allowing one hit and one walk. He struck out three in his longest college outing.
“My last inning, I was getting a little tired, but I felt good the whole way,” Newman said. “I had no idea I was going five innings.”
Tigers coach Paul Mainieri said he went into the game hoping Newman would pitch well enough to warrant a four- or five-inning stint.
“We wanted to see him extend a little bit and see how he handled it,” Mainieri said. “I thought he did a tremendous job. He threw the ball exceptionally well. He threw the ball hard, he had great movement and he threw some good curveballs for strikes.
“He certainly could have continued, but we wanted to get those other guys in the game. We used everybody that we wanted to use.”
Will LaMarche pitched a scoreless sixth; Brent Bonvillain gave up two runs run in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh; Hunter Devall gave up two hits before getting the final out in the seventh; Joey Bourgeois got the first out in the eighth; Nate Fury got the last two and Kevin Berry pitched a scoreless ninth.
“When you can run guys with arms like that out there, that is an outstanding team,” UNO coach Bruce Peddie said.
After Newman had a 1-2-3 top of the first, LSU took command in the bottom half against Privateers starter Alex Smith (3-9).
Sean McMullen led off with his first triple of the season and scored on Mark Laird’s groundout.
Alex Bregman and Mason Katz followed with consecutive singles and pulled a double steal before Raph Rhymes singled home Bregman.
Christian Ibarra drove home Katz with a grounder to third, Ibarra reached, and Rhymes went to third when Seth Laigast threw wide trying for a force at second.
Consecutive RBI singles by JaCoby Jones and Ty Ross made it 5-0 before left-hander Stone Speer relieved Smith and got the final two outs.
“Smith just didn’t have the velocity,” Peddie said. “They didn’t hit him hard; they got some choppers through there. But they were ready to hit from pitch one.”
Speer held the Tigers scoreless for the next three innings before getting roughed up in the fifth inning.
With one out, Jones reached on an infield single, and Ross singled him to third.
Andrew Stevenson put down a squeeze bunt, Jones scored and Stevenson reached when catcher Cameron Keener couldn’t handle Speer’s throw home.
McMullen followed with a two-run double, and Laird singled home McMullen to make it 9-0.
LSU increased the lead to 10-0 in the sixth when Chris Chinea doubled, moved to third on a grounder and came home on a wild pitch.
After UNO scored two runs in the top of the seventh, Barash lined a homer over the wall in left in the bottom of the inning to complete the scoring.
“That was pretty fun,” Barash said. “Fortunately, he gave me the pitch I was sitting on, I put a good swing on it, and the ball carried out of here.”
The Tigers won their 27th consecutive game against Louisiana schools and their 34th straight midweek game.
LSU and UNO will open next season against each other with a three-game series Feb. 14-16. The first and third games will be played at Alex Box, and the middle game will christen renovated Maestri Field on the Privateers campus.