The LSU baseball team shook off its first losing weekend of the season and beat McNeese State 7-3 on Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium.
The third-ranked Tigers, who lost consecutive games and a series for the first time this season when South Carolina defeated them Saturday and Sunday, had 15 hits, their most in a nine-inning game in the last 12 games.
Christian Ibarra had a home run and two singles, JaCoby Jones had three hits and a run batted in, Mark Laird had a single and a double for his first multi-hit game since March 24 and Mason Katz had two singles for his first multi-hit game since April 10.
Seven LSU pitchers combined on an eight-hitter and allowed just two unearned runs in the seventh and the first home run of the season by Sam Peterson, who played at LSU in 2011 before transferring, in the ninth.
The Tigers, 40-6, begin a Southeastern Conference series against Florida on Thursday night at The Box. The Cowboys, 20-22, begin a Southland Conference series at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday night.
LSU took a 1-0 lead in the first as Laird singled with one out, stole second and came home on Katz’s two-out single. That was Katz’s first RBI in 12 games.
The Tigers increased the lead to 2-0 when Ibarra led off the second with his fifth home run of the season.
The lead grew to 3-0 in the fifth when Laird doubled, Katz singled him to third and Raph Rhymes sent him home with a sacrifice fly.
LSU broke the game open in the sixth against reliever Steven O’Bryant. Ibarra led off with a single and Ty Ross and Jones followed with two more singles to produce a run. Pinch hitter Tyler Moore singled to load the bases and Sean McMullen walked, making it 5-0 and finishing O’Bryant.
Tyler Parke relieved, Laird drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder and Alex Bregman singled in the final run of the inning to make it 7-0.
Freshman right-hander Hunter Newman (1-0) made his first start for the Tigers and threw three scoreless innings, matching his longest outing in eight relief appearances. He allowed two hits and struck out one.
Newman was a late replacement for sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn, who was originally scheduled to pitch the first two innings then start again Saturday in the series finale against Florida.
By holding Glenn back, LSU coach Paul Mainieri has the option of starting him in the series opener against the Gators on Thursday.
The Tigers’ last three Southeastern Conference series are Thursday-Saturday, so starting Glenn on Thursday would allow Game 1 starter Aaron Nola and Game 2 starter Ryan Eades to stick with their normal routines and start on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Will LaMarche relieved Newman and pitched two scoreless innings. He struck out the last two batters he faced to strand a runner at third in the fifth.
Nate Fury pitched a perfect sixth and Mitchell Sewald gave up two runs in the seventh thanks in part to some defensive lapses.
Lucas Quary singled with one out and went to third when Ibarra threw wildly for an error trying for a force at second on Sam Peterson’s grounder.
Connor Lloyd singled home one run and another scored when second baseman Casey Yocom misplayed Tyler Klouser’s grounder for an error.
Sewald struck out the next two batters and got the leadoff hitter in the eighth before Nick Rumbelow relieved and finished the inning, allowing just an infield single.
Taylor Butler relieved to start the ninth and gave up Peterson’s homer leading off before getting the next two batters. Kevin Berry yielded a single before getting the final out.