Leftfielder Blake Dean and centerfielder Leon Landry each homered Wednesday night as top-ranked LSU collected 14 hits to defeat cross-town foe Southern, 11-5.
LSU (4-0) improved its overall record against Southern (1-3) to 44-2 in front of a crowd of 5,828.
“I didn’t think we hit in the clutch particularly well,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “But like I told the guys, if I hadn’t seen them hit in the clutch situations like they have throughout their careers then I might be a little bit panicked, but I’m not. I just think it’s early in the season and they’re still finding their groove.”
Meanwhile, LSU freshman left-hander Chris Matulis (1-0) performed well his collegiate debut, allowing only one run on five hits and five strikeouts in five innings of work.
“I thought Matulis was really outstanding,” Mainieri said. “I thought he showed a lot of poise for a freshman in his first start and he pumped a lot of strikes in there and did a really good job against what I thought were some pretty good hitters.”
LSU’s seven-game home stand continues this weekend when the Tigers host Central Florida in a three-game series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. CT.
The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when Blake Dean hit a solo home run off Jaguar starter Chase Richard to put the Tigers up 1-0. The homer was Dean’s second of the season.
Leon Landry continued the scoring in the fourth inning with a two-run homer off Richard following a Derek Helenihi. It was Landry’s third home run of the season and extended the LSU lead to 3-0.
Richard (0-1) left the game in the fifth inning after giving up a single to shortstop DJ LeMahieu. Right-hander Josh Cola came on in relief and gave up a triple to right fielder Jared Mitchell two batters later that scored LeMahieu and put LSU up 4-1.
LeMahieu’s run was charged to Richard, who allowed four runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and three walks in four innings of work.
Right-hander Jordan Nicholson came on in relief in the sixth inning and got into a no-out, bases-loaded jam before Southern’s Frazier Hall scored on a fielder’s choice to cut the LSU lead to 4-2. Nicholson came back to strikeout the final two outs of the inning, both with the bases loaded.
LSU went ahead 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth after back-to-back infield errors by Southern with two outs. The first run came when Jaguar shortstop Jesse Olivar’s throw got by first baseman Frazier Hall, allowing Sean Ochinko to reach safely and Ryan Schimpf to score. The next batter, Jared Mitchell reached on a fielding error scoring Dean.
LeMahieu, who finished 3-for-5, doubled in the bottom of the eighth to score Micah Gibbs and put LSU up 7-2; that’s when errors would plague Southern again. Ochinko struck out, but was able to advance to second on a wild pitch. The next batter, Mitchell, hit a hard shot off the glove of Olivar to score LeMahieu and Ochinko, putting the Tigers on top 9-2. Mitchell later scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Grant Dozar to make the score 10-2. LSU’s scoring finally concluded in the eighth when Schimpf, who finished 2-for-4, singled home Chad Jones to extend the Tiger lead to 11-2.
Southern produced a three-run rally in the ninth, highlighted by Brad McDavid’s two-run homer.