BATON ROUGE — No. 11 LSU belted three homers Tuesday to pace a 12-hit output, as the Tigers posted an 8-3 win over Southern at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU improved to 3-1 win the victory, while Southern fell to 2-3. The Tigers are back in action for another midweek game Wednesday night at Nicholls. First pitch in Thibodaux, La., is slated for 6 p.m. CT at Ray E. Didier Field.
Wednesday's game will be televised on Cox Sports Television, and it can be heard at www.LSUsports.net/live and on 100.7 FM in Baton Rouge.
Designated hitter Saul Garza led the Tigers' offense by going 3-for-4 at the plate with a homer and four RBI. Second baseman Gavin Dugas and pinch hitter Hayden Travinski added solo homers, and first baseman Cade Beloso provided an RBI triple.
"Southern has a lot of good ball players, and their pitching is much improved," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, "but I thought our guys did a super job and didn't panic when we fell behind early. We had some great at-bats, and we played a good, solid game."
Southern took the early lead Tuesday as the Jaguars plated two unearned runs in the top of the second inning. Rightfielder Brad Jenkins punched a one-out single to center that moved shortstop Bubba Thompson to second after Thompson had reached on a throwing error by LSU third baseman Cade Doughty.
After Jenkins moved to second and Thompson advanced to third on a passed ball, catcher William Nelson hit an RBI single to right that scored Thompson and moved Jenkins to third. A sac fly from third baseman Frankie Montesino scored Jenkins from third to give Southern a 2-0 lead.
LSU responded with three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good. Dugas was hit by a pitch before rightfielder Daniel Cabrera drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Doughty flied out to third, moving Dugas to third before Cabrera stole second base.
Shortstop Zack Mathis then hit a sac fly to left that scored Dugas. Garza followed with an RBI single to center that scored Cabrera. With two outs, Beloso lined a triple down the right field line that scored Garza to give the Tigers a 3-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth, Dugas launched a solo shot over the left field landing to extend the LSU lead to 4-2. The Tigers added two more runs in the fifth off the bat of Garza. Mathis hit a leadoff single to start the fifth, then Garza came to the plate and hit a two-run shot into the left field bleachers to help the Tigers pull away to a 6-2 advantage.
The Tigers added another run in the sixth on a Garza RBI that scored Cabrera from third. Cabrera reached on a fielder's choice and stole second to start the inning. Mathis then singled up the middle, allowing Cabrera to move to third and then score on the Garza single.
LSU added one more run in the bottom of the eighth on a solo shot by Travinski, who deposited the ball into the right field bleachers.
Five LSU pitchers combined in the effort. Left-hander Brandon Kaminer got the start and worked 2.0 innings, allowing Southern to score two runs on two hits. He had two strikeouts. Ma'Khail Hilliard (1-0) worked the third inning and earned the win as he allowed no hits and had one strikeout.
Nick Storz took the mound in the fourth inning and fired three innings, notching three strikeouts and allowing two hits. Matthew Beck pitched two innings and had one strikeout. Chase Costello pitched the ninth inning and allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout.
"The highlight of the night for me was Nick Storz," Mainieri said. "He gave us three innings that we really needed to win the game. He competes so hard, and we're so happy to see him out there on the mound. His three innings saved our bullpen for the four games we still have this week."
Southern's Mykel Page (0-2) was charged with the loss, as he allowed three runs on three hits in two innings of work.