Raph Rhymes dropped a spot in the LSU batting order and looked right at home.
Batting fifth for the first time this season Rhymes went 3 for 4, including a tie-breaking, two-run single in the sixth inning as the Tigers defeated Tulane 4-3 Wednesday night in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU, 38-4, begins a Southeastern Conference series against South Carolina at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box. Tulane, 20-21, begins a Conference USA series at Marshall on Friday.
The Tigers have won 25 consecutive games against Louisiana schools and 32 consecutive mid-week games.
Tulane took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth before starter Randy LeBlanc (2-3) tired in the bottom half. After one out, Mark Laird walked, Alex Bregman singled and Mason Katz walked, loading the bases and finishing LeBlanc.
Reliever Andrew Reeves threw a wild pitch to tie the score, then yielded a two-run single to Rhymes.
The Green Wave got within 4-3 on Bowen Woodson’s RBI single in the eighth, but Nick Rumeblow got Tucker Oakley to ground out with runners on first and second.
Joey Bourgeois retired the only batter he faced to start the ninth and Chris Cotton got the next two for his ninth save.
LSU broke a scoreless tie with a run in the fifth, but Tulane came right back with two in the sixth.
Hunter Devall relieved to start the inning and hit Brennan Boudreaux leading off, then walked Garrett Cannizaro. Kevin Berry (3-0) relieved and Sean Potkay sacrificed.
Andrew Garner hit a line drive to left and Rhymes froze for a second then jumped, but the ball got over him for a two-run double.
Tigers starter Kurt McCune had his fourth consecutive scoreless outing as he allowed just a single in two innings. He had pitched one, two and two scoreless innings in previous outings after giving up two runs in three innings during his season debut April 9 vs. Southern. He has been sidelined prior to that by a back injury.
Brent Bonvillain relieved McCune and threw two scoreless innings, allowing a single and a walk. Will LaMarche pitched a scoreless fifth, walking two and striking out two berfore Devall came in.
LeBlanc held the Tigers scoreless through four, allowing just one single.
Rhymes started the fifth with his second single and Christian Ibarra sent him to third with a hit-and-run single. After Tyler Moore struck out, Ty Ross’ grounded to short on a slow roller that brought home Rhymes for a 1-0 lead.
NOTE -- Cotton is one of 51 players named to the mid-season watch list for the ninth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, which is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Cotton, a senior left-hander from Shreveport, is 2-0 this season with a 1.71 earned run average.