Tigers Overwhelm New Orleans, 19-3

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - 11:44pm

First baseman Sean Ochinko launched a grand slam and drove in a career-best seven runs Tuesday night to lead top-ranked LSU to a 19-3 victory over New Orleans at Maestri Field.

LSU (8-0) has won 24 straight regular-season games over the past two seasons. UNO dropped to 4-5 with Tuesday’s loss.

The Tigers play host to Mississippi Valley State at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium.

“Obviously, I’m very pleased with our effort tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri after watching his team pound out 13 hits and score in double figures for the seventh time in eight outings. “We’re tough to beat when everyone in our lineup is swinging well, and that was definitely the case in this game.”

The Tigers erupted for six runs in each of the first two innings Tuesday to grab a commanding 12-1 lead. Rightfielder Jared Mitchell drew a bases-loaded walk from UNO starter Jim McGonigle in the top of the first inning to give LSU a 1-0 advantage before Ochinko lined a two-run single.

Third baseman Derek Helenihi followed with a two-run triple before designated hitter Chris McGhee delivered an RBI single to increase the lead to 6-0.

UNO responded with a run in the bottom of the first before the Tigers put the game out of reach in the second inning. Ochinko’s grand slam – his first homer this season – highlighted a six-run outburst that also included RBI singles by catcher Micah Gibbs and shortstop DJ LeMahieu.

Ochinko’s seventh RBI of the game came on a run-scoring double in the fourth. Ochinko has collected 14 RBI in the Tigers’ last four games.

Freshman left-hander Chris Matulis (2-0) earned the win for LSU, limiting the Privateers to two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings with three walks and four strikeouts.

“Chris gave us another strong outing,” Mainieri said. “It was the first time he pitched in a road environment, and I thought he handled it very well.”

Freshman right-hander Spencer Mathews was credited with a save as he worked the final 3.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

McGonigle (0-2) was charged with the loss as he surrendered six runs on three hits with three walks and one strikeout in one inning.