OXFORD, Miss. - The Rebel offense exploded for a big first inning and the pitching staff held the Lions in check down the stretch as No. 7 Ole Miss (13-1) defeated Southeastern Louisiana (8-4) by a score of 6-2 on Wednesday at Swayze Field.
The Rebels put up five runs in the first inning and five Ole Miss pitchers limited the Lions' scoring chances throughout the day in front of a raucous crowd of school children at the program's inaugural School Day game.
Brady Bramlett (2-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts through 5.0 innings of work. Bramlett and three other pitchers (Austin Blunt, Scott Weathersby and Aaron Greenwood) came up with the big pitches when needed to limit scoring opportunities for Southeastern Louisiana throughout the afternoon.
Tanner Bailey then picked up his second save of the season, facing one batter in the ninth inning and recording a strikeout with the bases loaded and two outs.
Kaleb Manuel (0-1) suffered the loss for Southeastern Louisiana, allowing five runs - four earned - on four hits and recorded only one out before the Lions turned to the bullpen.
"I'm certainly happy that we won, but disappointed because I didn't think we played very well today," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco. "The theme of the game was that we did just enough. We pitched just enough, we hit just enough; we defended just enough to win. You're trying to get better every day, and I just didn't think we played very well today even though we played well enough to win."
The scoring barrage in the first inning propelled the Rebels to victory as Ole Miss sent 10 men to the plate in a 41 minute first inning.
It started with a single up the middle from Auston Bousfield and a single from Austin Anderson that set up an RBI single from Stuart Turner to get the Rebels on the board. A fielding error at second on a ground ball from Andrew Mistone allowed Turner to advance safely while Anderson scored and the Rebels held a 2-0 lead.
Sikes Orvis and Will Allen followed it up with RBI singles before Will Jamison doubled off the wall in right field to drive in the Rebels' fifth run of the inning. Southeastern Louisiana would then get a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning, but Ole Miss held the 5-0 lead.
The Rebels added the sixth run in the fourth inning on another RBI single from Turner that brought Bousfield home. The Ole Miss centerfielder reached on a walk to open the inning and went first to third on a throwing error from the Lions' first baseman off a ground ball down the first base line.
The Southeastern Louisiana fielder scooped a ground ball from Anderson and turned to throw to second in an attempt for a double play - or to at least get the lead runner - and instead threw the ball into left field, allowing Bousfield to advance two bases safely and set up the run on the Turner hit.
The Lions would cut into the lead with a single run in both the fifth and sixth innings, but the Rebel pitching staff limited the damage each inning and kept the offense in check until Southeastern Louisiana loaded the bases in the ninth.
Bailey then recorded the strikeout to preserve the win for the Rebels.
Ole Miss will return to action on Friday, opening a three-game series against the Lipscomb Bisons at 6:30 p.m. at Swayze Field.
No. 7 Kentucky Picks Up Another Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- All-America two-way standout A.J. Reed belted his fourth home run in his last six games and freshman right-hander Kyle Cody picked up his first career win, leading No. 7 Kentucky to a 6-3 win over Xavier, on Wednesday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (11-1) plated an early run in the first inning but the Musketeers turned three inning-ending double plays and took a 2-1 lead after four complete frames. UK rallied to regain the lead on the strength of Max Kuhn’s two-RBI double in the fifth inning, adding single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to secure the win.
“I think that it helps us in a couple ways,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said about the benefits of a grind-it-out win over Xavier. “First, the game is close and also we had a chance to get frustrated and lose our poise in the first four innings when they had three double plays that kept that game close. We had a chance to bust it open three or four times and we didn’t do it, so it forced us to either panic or keep our poise and I thought our guys did a really good job at the plate. Our bullpen was good again, we aren’t perfect down there, but we do a pretty good job I was really happy with Walt (Wijas), (Chandler Shepherd) Shep and (Trevor) Gott. We made some nice defensive plays again.”
Reed launched his Southeastern Conference-leading fifth homer of the year in the seventh inning, a towering blast over the 30-foot high wall in rightfield. The SEC, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, Reed had hit homers in four of his last six games. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound extended his hitting streak to a club-high nine games, batting .457 (16-for-35) with five homers and 20 RBI during that stretch. In 2013, Reed has a .426 average with a double, triple, five homers and 23 RBI, sporting a .526 on-base and a .809 slugging percentage.
“It’s a fun part of the game,” Henderson said about Reed’s first 12 games. “It’s fun when you get good kids like that. It’s more fun when they are on your team. You will see kids get in a groove like that and he is certainly in one of those grooves. He is squaring it good.”
After Central Kentucky was blanketed with three inches of snow overnight, the UK sports turf department, UK administration, baseball managers and trainers spent the day preparing the playing surface for an oasis in the wintery conditions.
“I was really pleased with Kyle (Cody), he had five innings with no walks,” Henderson said. “He got two outs in the fourth inning and got a little excited and rushed. He left a couple balls up for the middle of the order and they hit him hard. Besides that he did really good. It was a really good game from Kyle and it was a solid improvement from last time.”
Rated as the 39th-best freshman in college baseball in the preseason by Baseball America, Cody (1-0) worked a career-long five innings, allowing four hits and two runs, not issuing and walk and striking out three. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., made his second career start on Wednesday and after allowing a leadoff single in the top of the first, retired nine consecutive hitters, before a two-out, two-run rally in the fourth inning.
“Today, I was a lot more focused and I knew what I had to do,” Cody said. “I took my struggles from last game and I worked on changing it for the better. I tried to get ahead of the batters and tried to get the ball down. I didn’t do that against Murray. I just needed to get ahead. Once I got ahead, I had to put my secondary pitch low in the zone.”
Senior Walter Wijas started the sixth inning, working 1.2 innings, allowing two hits and no runs, striking out one. Chandler Shepherd came on to get out of the seventh with a runner at second and two outs, getting out of the jam and working 1.1 innings, allowing a two-out run in the eighth inning, walking one and striking out one.
Junior right-hander Trevor Gott came on to start the ninth in a save chance, getting the final three outs for his second save of the year and the 13th of his three-year UK career. A native of Lexington, Ky., Gott pulls into a tie for second all-time in UK career history, equaling Paul Morse (1993-94) and just two saves shy of the program record, held by Lorhn Frazier (1990-93).
A preseason All-America selection and the first consensus first team freshman All-America honoree in UK history, Reed led UK with a 2-for-3 game with an RBI and a pair of walks. Kuhn and Micheal Thomas also collected two-hit games, with Kuhn going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.
“He (Kuhn) has really seen it well,” Henderson said. “First three weeks, he has showed very little chase and a lot of solid contact. He looks like he is going to get a hit every time he steps in the box. He is playing well defensively. Max is in a good place right now.”
Thomas went 2-for-3 with a run scored with Austin Cousino, Zac Zellers, J.T. Riddle and Paul McConkey adding hits. Lucas Witt and Matt Reida each drew walks, with Witt also getting plunked by a pitch and stealing a base.
“Micheal (Thomas) has done a really good job for 12 games, and so has Matt Reida,” Henderson said. “The bottom third of our lineup is producing and we need to keep doing that as that is what good teams do. You have to apply pressure at the bottom as well.”
Xavier (3-7) starter Scott Flever (1-1) worked five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits – three earned – walking four and striking out two. Both of his walks were intentional to avoid Reed, the reigning national player of the week. Jacob Bodner, Jarred Marks, Zach Johnson, Daniel Przeniczny and Alex Vice each worked in relief for the Musketeers.
UK will return to action with a three-game series with Michigan State, starting at 4 p.m. ET on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With Cody keeping Xavier scoreless in the top half of the first, Kentucky jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Zellers found his way on base with a one-out single up the middle, before advancing to third on a single into rightfield from Reed. Riddle drove a ball into deep right center to allow Zellers to tag and score on the sacrifice fly.
The Musketeers put up a two spot in the top of the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead through four and a half. With a runner on first, Vinny Nittoli knocked a double over Cousino’s head in deep centerfield. The two-out double scored Bruening and tied the game at 1-1. Patrick Paligraf matched Nittoli’s extra base hit with a double down the leftfield line, scoring Nittoli and giving Xavier its first lead of the game.
The Wildcats regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out double from Kuhn. Thomas led off the inning with a base knock up the middle. With two outs and Thomas on second, Xavier chose to intentionally walk Reed for a second time. An infield single to the right side from Riddle loaded the bases with two down. Ahead in the count, Kuhn drilled a double down the leftfield line, bringing home Thomas and Reed to give Kentucky a 3-2 lead.
Kentucky extended its lead in the bottom of the sixth, sparked by a leadoff walk from McConkey. McConkey advanced to second on a botched pickoff attempt and Witt walked to give UK runners on first and second. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third and forced Xavier to head to the bullpen, bringing in Jacob Bodner. A wild pitch from Bodner allowed McConkey to score from third and move Witt to third. Witt was left stranded on third but Kentucky had increased its lead to 4-2.
Reed blasted his fifth homer of the year over the rightfield fence to increase Kentucky’s lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
“When pitchers come out of the pen they are usually looking to get ahead,” Reed said about hitting the first pitch of a lefty-lefty matchup over the fence in the seventh. “Especially, when there is lefty-lefty match up. I am just seeing the ball well right now. It’s not simple, but when it’s going good it’s going good. I am trying to just get my pitch and put a good swing on it, and I have been doing a pretty good job of it lately.”
The Musketeers brought the game within two runs in the top of the eighth, scoring one run to soften the Kentucky lead to 5-3. With one out, Xavier leadoff man Mark Elwell walked and advanced to second with two outs on a ground out to first. Derek Hasenbeck drove a double into rightfield, scoring Elwell and leaving the Musketeers trailing 5-3.
Kentucky added an insurance run for Gott in the bottom of the eighth. A hit by pitch for Witt, a Reida walk and another hit by pitch for Thomas loaded the bases with no outs for Kentucky. Xavier went to Alex Vice in the bullpen to face the top of the order for Kentucky. With one out, Zellers flew out to deep rightfield, allowing Witt to tag from third and score. Vice left the two remaining Kentucky baserunners stranded but the Wildcats had tabbed an additional run, bringing the score to 6-3 for Gott entering the ninth.
South Carolina Posts 14-4 Win Over Ball State
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sixth ranked South Carolina scored six runs in the first three innings and batted around to score seven more in the bottom of the eighth on the way to a 14-4 win over Ball State on Wednesday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina improves to 10-2 on the year while the loss drops Ball State to 5-6 for the season.
With a 7-4 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning, the Gamecocks scored some insurance runs to go ahead by 10 over the Cardinals. Joey Pankake led off with a walk and advanced to third on a double to right field by LB Dantzler that extended his hitting streak to nine games. Max Schrock would drive in Pankake with a RBI single. Grayson Greiner kept it going with a two-run double that was followed by a RBI single up the middle off the bat of George Iskenderian, his first career RBI in a Gamecock uniform. Sean Sullivan would drive in two more runs with a double and he eventually scored after advancing twice on wild pitches.
Eight of nine Gamecock position starters had at least one hit. Pankake went 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBI. Schrock was 3-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and three stolen bases. Greiner and Iskenderian added two hits apiece with Greiner driving in three runs as well. South Carolina had 14 hits for the contest with Ball State finishing with 12 on the afternoon. Sean Godfrey went 3-for-5 with Blake Beemer 2-for-5 to lead Ball State at the plate.
South Carolina reliever Patrick Sullivan worked 3.2 innings of relief to earn the win. He allowed one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Ball State starter Clay Manering suffered the loss and is now 0-2 for the season. He allowed six runs on five hits in 2.1 innings with six walks and two strikeouts.
Ball State opened up a 1-0 lead on the first pitch of the game as Blake Beemer knocked the first pitch he saw from South Carolina starter Curt Britt for a solo homer to right field, his first home run of the season. Carolina answered in the bottom half of the frame to tie the game at one apiece. Three consecutive one-out walks to Chase Vergason, Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler loaded the bases. Vergason would score on Max Schrock's RBI single to center field.
Pankake gave Carolina a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer, his second straight day to tally a three-run blast. Graham Saiko singled with two outs followed by a walk to Chase Vergason that set the stage for Pankake. On Manering's 2-1 pitch, Pankake launched his second homer of the season over the right field wall.
Ball State cut the Gamecocks lead to a pair of runs in the third inning. Elbert DeVarie led off with a double down the right field line and eventually scored on Ryan Spaulding's RBI sacrifice fly to left-center.
Carolina however extended it to 6-2 in the bottom half of the third. George Iskenderian singled, TJ Costen walked and Sean Sullivan was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Saiko would drive in Iskenderian with a sacrifice fly to left-center. Vergason followed with a RBI single. The lead increased to 7-2 in the sixth inning. Schrock drew a one-out walk and stole second and third base before scoring on Grayson Greiner's RBI single to right field. Ball State crept to within three runs with a run in the seventh and a run in the eighth.
South Carolina starting pitcher Curt Britt went 3.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Sophomore center fielder Tanner English had to leave the game in the bottom of the third inning with a right shoulder injury.
South Carolina is back in action on Friday beginning a three-game home series vs. Rider. First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. with Saturday's contest at 4 p.m. and Sunday's series finale scheduled for 1:30 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game." Live video broadcast is also available at GamecocksOnline on the All Access Channel.
Mizzou Pitching Shines in Sweep of Doubleheader
COLUMBIA, Mo. - A brilliant performance by the pitching staff led Mizzou (2-6) to a sweep of a double-header against Eastern Michigan Wednesday (March 6) at Taylor Stadium. Starters Jace James and Keaton Steele combined for 11 innings of three-hit, eight-strikeout baseball. Overall, the pitching staff allowed just six hits and one run to the Eagles. The shutout in game one was the first Tiger shutout since blanking Texas in last season's Big 12 Tournament.
Scott Sommerfeld and Josh Lester turned in impressive games offensively, combining for four hits and three RBI over the two games. Kendall Keeton and Dylan Kelly both also were productive offensively, combining for six RBI in game two. The Tigers won 1-0 and 7-1 in their sweep of their MAC foes. James earned the win in the first game, his first of the season, while freshman Breckin Williams earned his first career save. Steele earned the win in game two, his first of the season.
The Eagles threatened in the second inning of game one after a one-out walk to Adam Sonabend, who then stole second. James responded with two strikeouts sandwiched around a walk to end the frame scoreless. Mizzou went down 1-2-3 inning the bottom of the frame, failing to put a runner on base for the second consecutive inning. James settled back in the third, sitting down Eastern Michigan in order. Keeton notched the first Tiger hit with a two-out hot shot that ricocheted off the pitcher, but he was left stranded.
Eastern Michigan got its first hit of the game in the fourth inning, a blooper that fell in shallow right-center. Kelly laced a one-out single to center with one out in the fourth, the only hit of the inning. James forced a 1-2-3 fifth, highlighted by a stellar grab by Steele's leaping grab on the final out. Sommerfeld got his first hit of the season with a leadoff double in the bottom of the inning, and a sacrifice bunt by Michael McGraw moved him to third where a sac fly by Lester brought him home for a 1-0 lead. James then threw another perfect inning in the sixth, and Mizzou went down in order in the bottom of the frame.
Alec Rash entered to pitch in the seventh, and after walking the first batter, the Tigers took advantage of a double play on a strikeout and caught stealing on the same pitch. Breckin Williams took over with two on and two outs, and he forced a groundout to give Mizzou its first win of the season.
The Eagles started better at the dish in game two, as they got a leadoff single to start the contest. The inning ended two batters later on a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play. Kendall Keeton doubled to start the game for Mizzou, and Sommerfeld singled him in with two outs to put the Tigers on top 1-0. EMU threatened in the second with a runner on second and no outs, but he was left stranded on third. Dane Opel singled to lead off the bottom of the frame, but a 6-4-3 double play erased him in the scoreless frame.
After a scoreless top of the third, Nick Moore walked and Kendall Keeton singled to right to put runners on the corners with one out, and a fielder's choice allowed Moore to score for a 2-0 Mizzou lead into the fourth. Steele continued to keep Eastern Michigan off balance, throwing another scoreless inning. The Tigers caught fire in the bottom of the frame with two outs, as Keeton singled home a run after back-to-back walks for a 3-0 lead. A walk loaded the bases for Kelly, who singled home three runners to blow it open with a 6-0 lead heading to the fifth.
Steele held EMU scoreless again in the fifth, and Mizzou caught fire with two outs again, scoring on a single to center off Lester's bat to push the lead to seven. Ryan Phillips entered to pitch in the sixth and worked around a walk and an error to hold the Eagles scoreless again. Griffin Goodrich came in to close out game two, and a leadoff single turned into their first run of the day, but Goodrich came back with a strikeout to end the game.
Mizzou takes on San Francisco this weekend as they look to avenge a road sweep from last season. For all the latest on Missouri baseball, follow the team on Twitter (@MUTigerBaseball) or check in to MUTigers.com.
Walkoff Single Lifts Gators Over Dolphins
Florida (7-7) rallied for two runs in the ninth, capped by a game-winning single by sophomore Connor Mitchell (Tampa, Fla.), to notch a 7-6 victory over Jacksonville (4-9) to complete a mid-week sweep of the teams’ home-and-home series at McKethan Stadium on Wednesday night. The Gators have now won their last four games to reach the .500 mark.
With Florida down to its final three outs against senior Drew Woods (0-1) and trailing by a run, sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (3-for-4) led off with an infield single. Redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) was hit by a pitch for two Gators aboard and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance his teammates into scoring position. The Dolphins elected to walk senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) (3-for-4, two runs) intentionally to face senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) with one down and Dent lofted a fly ball into left field. However, freshman Nathan Koslowski dropped it, bringing Shafer home with the tying run. After Powers was caught in a run-down for the second out, Mitchell came to the plate and ripped Woods’ initial pitch up the middle to score Ramjit with the winning run. It was also Mitchell’s first hit of the season and made a winner out of sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) (2-1).
“I think this team needed a walk-off win,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We’ve had a tough go of it early in the season but I’m proud of the way we battled back; rebound runs were an issue again. We were up 3-0, and then gave up three runs in the top of the third. We scored one in the seventh and then gave up two runs, then we scored one in the eighth and turned around and gave up one in the ninth. Regardless, they battled and they did a nice job.”
“I’ve never had one before,” Mitchell said of his game-winning hit. “Not even in Little League or anything. I figured the first pitch was probably going to be a fastball and it might be the only one I see so I was swinging.”
Florida used an RBI grounder by Powers to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning against sophomore Alex McRae. Sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) led off by reaching on an error but was erased on a fielder’s choice by freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) (1-for-5, two runs). Shafer advanced Bader to third with his team-leading eighth double and Powers broke the ice with a grounder to second that scored Bader.
The Gators added two more runs in the second inning on an RBI single by redshirt freshman Cory Reid (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and a sacrifice fly by Turgeon to build a 3-0 margin. Ramjit began the frame with a single into right field and sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) was hit by a pitch before freshman Brady Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) (2-for-3) moved his teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Reid punched a base-hit into right field to drive in Ramjit and Turgeon followed with his second sacrifice fly of the year to plate Tobias.
Jacksonville answered with three runs on three hits in the third to even the game. Junior Scott Schaub (2-for-4) legged out an infield hit to start things off and freshman Kris Molter earned a free pass to put the Dolphins in business. Junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) struck out freshman Dylan Dillard but then walked junior Zach Houck (2-for-4) to load the bases with one down. Freshman Michael Babb (3-for-5) singled into right center to score Schaub but the Gators cut down Molter on a relay from Reid to Tobias to Gushue. Junior Drew Luther (2-for-4) squared the game with a two-run double into the right-field corner.
Freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) replaced Gibson (3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 K, 2 BB) prior to the fourth and kept the Dolphins off the board. The Gators loaded the bases in their fourth at bat on a leadoff single by Ramjit, a one-out base-hit by Roberson and a two-out intentional walk to Turgeon. McRae kept the game tied by having Bader line out to right field.
Sophomore Jeff Tanner came in for McRae (4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER) prior to the Gators’ fifth and plunked Shafer. A grounder by Powers moved Shafer into scoring position and Ramjit’s third hit of the night left UF with runners on the corners and two down. A wild pitch enabled Ramjit to occupy second for two runners in scoring position but Tanner kept the contest tied by striking out Tobias.
Vinson worked two scoreless innings and walked junior Brady North to begin the sixth, prompting a pitching change. Freshman Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) fielded a bunt by sophomore Garrett Ruckel and threw out North at second base before fanning senior Ethan Loosen. Carmichael slipped on the mound and was charged with a balk with two down but had Schaub ground out to Turgeon to end the frame.
Bader started the Gators’ seventh with an infield single and Shafer followed with his second double of the night. Junior Will Flor took over for Tanner (2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R) and struck out Powers. Gushue moved the hosts back in front with a bloop single into left field and Flor escaped further trouble by having Ramjit line into an inning-ending double play.
Babb began the eighth with a triple to right field and Luther was hit by a pitch, bringing in freshman left-hander Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.) for Carmichael (2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R). North tied the game with a double into left field and Harris replaced Danciu. An RBI grounder by Ruckel brought across Luther for a 5-4 lead.
Woods took over on the mound in the home part of the inning for Flor (1.0 IP, 1 H) and freshman pinch hitter Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) reached on an error by Molter at second base and Roberson followed by reaching on an error by Schaub at third base. Moments later, Reid sacrificed Dicks and pinch runner Mitchell into scoring position with a bunt. Turgeon then tied the game at 5-5 with a grounder to second base that scored Dicks.
In the top of the ninth, Koslowski doubled with one down and Houck reached on a single before Harris came through with a strikeout of Babb. Luther put the Dolphins back on top with an RBI single up the middle. Florida held a 12-11 advantage in hits and did not commit any errors.
The Gators will host Big Ten favorite Indiana (6-2) in a three-game series beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. All three games will be available on GatorVision and can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Larry Vettel.
LSU Downs SFA, 10-2
BATON ROUGE, La.-No. 3 LSU (12-1) picked up base hits from eight different contributors, capitalized on five errors and exploded for a six-run second inning to beat Sacred Heart (0-5) by a margin of 10-2 on Wednesday night at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers will play host to Washington for a three game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium. LSU sophomore right-hander Aaron Nola will take the mound in the first game of the series.
LSU grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second inning Wednesday after batting around the order. First baseman Mason Katz launched a double to deep right center, scoring left fielder Raph Rhymes from first who had led off the inning with a single up the middle. Both sluggers upped their hitting streaks to 11 games apiece in their first at bats.
Katz moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Sacred Heart starter Troy Scribner (0-1). After second baseman Jacoby Jones struck out and catacher Ty Ross walked, designated hitter Michael Barash delivered a single and his first career RBI, scoring Katz. Third baseman Christian Ibarra dropped a single into right, plating Ross from second who slid under the tag at home.
Right fielder Jared Foster scored Barash and moved Ibarra to third with a double just inside fair territory along the left field line. Laird brought home both runners and expanded the lead to 6-0 with a single to right.
"We had a series of outstanding at-bats in the second inning that gave us the early lead," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "The starting pitcher was Sacred Heart's No. 1 starter and he was very impressive at the start of the game. After Raph led off the second with a single and Mason followed with a shot to the gap, we kept the momentum gping and it resulted in a big inning."
Starting pitcher Nick Rumbelow (1-0) picked up the win after striking out two and retiring all six batters he faced to start the game. Scribner took the loss, allowed seven hits, eight earned runs and four walks and struck out five.
"I was very pleased with the way Nick threw the ball tonight," Mainieri said. "He seemed very relaxed and at ease on the mound, and he's ready to step back into a prominent role out of our bullpen."
Sacred Heart got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth when Rocco Gondek homered to left.
LSU answered Sacred Heart's homer with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth to up the lead to 8-1. Shortstop Alex Bregman led off with an infield single, moved to second on a ground out and advanced two bases on consecutive wild pitches. After Jones walked, Ross drove him in with a single to left.
The Tigers tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth. Laird reached base on an error by the third baseman. Bregman beat out a slow roller to short and Laird scored from second when the throw bounced past the first baseman.
Sacred Heart added a second run in the top of the eighth. Jonathan Servilla led off with a double, stole third and scored on an RBI ground out off the bat of pinch hitter Jayson Sullivan.
In the bottom of the eighth, Tyler Moore scored from second to provide the final margin after Alex Edward's fly ball to right was mishandled.
LSU's bullpen gave up seven hits and two runs and struck out 11 batters in seven innings of work.