Freshman left-hander Chris Matulis won his third game in three starts Tuesday night and third-ranked LSU broke open a close game with a six-run fourth inning as the Tigers defeated Southeastern Louisiana, 16-5 at Alumni Field.
The victory was LSU’s eighth straight in Hammond, a streak that began in 1990.
LSU, which improved to 11-2 on the year, plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette (5-7-1) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium.
Southeastern, which plays host to McNeese State this weekend in a Southland Conference series, fell to 7-6 with Tuesday’s loss.
LSU earned the win Tuesday after dropping two of three games last weekend to Illinois. The Tigers open SEC play this weekend versus Kentucky.
“We certainly needed to get back on track tonight after a tough weekend, and I was pleased with the way our players responded,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We took advantage of the opportunities Southeastern gave us with clutch hitting, something we’ve struggled with a times this season. We need to continue to improve because we have many challenges ahead this week.”
LSU trailed 2-1 in the top of the fourth when the Tigers took advantage of five SLU walks and an error to score six runs. The Tigers posted just two hits in the inning, an RBI single by third baseman Tyler Hanover and a three-run single by second baseman Ryan Schimpf.
LSU expanded its lead to 9-2 in the fifth as rightfielder Derek Helenihi contributed an RBI single and catcher Micah Gibbs scored when SLU shortstop TY Summerlin misplayed Hanover’s grounder.
The Tigers added four runs in the sixth on three homers. Centerfielder Leon Landry led off the inning with his eighth homer of the season before first baseman/catcher Sean Ochinko launched a two-run blast, his fifth of the year.
Leftfielder Jared Mitchell capped the inning with a solo shot, his third dinger of the season.
Helenihi and Schimpf each finished the night with three RBI while Ochinko drove in two runs and scored four times.
Matulis (3-0) limited the Lions to two earned runs on seven hits in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts, firing 90 pitches during his outing.
“I thought Chris gave us another strong effort,” Mainieri said. “We needed for him to give us at least six innings, and he gave us a very good outing. He is definitely a candidate to move into our weekend starting rotation.
SLU starter Shawn Herring (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing four runs – two earned – on one hit in 3.1 innings with four walks and one strikeout.