LSU will head into its biggest conference series with offensive confidence.
The Tigers poured on 15 hits and had three doubles in a 13-5 win over Southern Miss on Tuesday night in the annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at a chilly Zephyr Field.
Center fielder Andrew Stevenson had the first four-hit game of his career, and the Tigers overcame some early pitching woes to get a confidence-booting win heading to a series against Ole Miss.
The Tigers (28-9-1) had 10 runs by the fourth inning, shaking off a troublesome outing from pitcher Nate Fury to bury the Golden Eagles (21-17).
Fury allowed four hits and walked two in his seven batters faced, and starter Alden Cartwright allowed a three-run home run, knotting the score at 5 apiece in the third inning.
Have no fear. The Tigers’ bats were alive on a sub-50 degree April night in Metarie.
LSU had a four-hit, four-run fourth inning to take a 10-5 lead.
Eight of 10 LSU batters had at least one hit, and Christian Ibarra drove in a career-high four RBIs.
The offensive success Tuesday is a good jolt for a squad coming off of a four-hit performance in a Game 3 loss to Arkansas on Sunday — an ugly 10-4 defeat after clinching the series victory Saturday.
LSU will play Ole Miss in a Thursday-Saturday three-game series, the first of which is televised on ESPNU.
Coach Paul Mainieri called the series with the Rebels “big.” The two teams are ranked in the top 13 in the major polls and are in the top half of the Southeastern Conference halfway through the league slate.
LSU is 8-6-1 in the SEC. The Tigers are in fourth place. The Rebels (29-9, 9-6) are tied for second.
“This is kind of that middle series,” Mainieri said earlier this week. “This is a critical series coming up against a really good Ole Miss team.”
Seven different LSU players had at least one hit over the first four innings. The Tigers batted 20 in a wacky first three frames.
The teams combined for 11 runs and 14 hits. A pitcher from each team issued a bases-loaded walk, a runner was hit by a groundball and there were two errors.
LSU had three straight hits to open the game, the first time that’s happened since March 9 against Purdue.
It was the beginning of a solid offensive outing for a club that scored 14 runs on 17 hits in a three-game series win over Arkansas last weekend.
The Tigers did it in front of an announced 7,018 at the annual event honoring Wally Pontiff Jr., an all-SEC third baseman for LSU who died in 2002 at the age of 21 due to a heart abnormality.
Proceeds from Tuesday’s game went to the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation, which benefits charitable organizations throughout Louisiana.
Pontiff donned the old-fashioned high socks while playing. Most LSU players, in honor of him, wore their purple socks pulled high.
LSU moved to 9-2 in Pontiff Classic games, beating Southern Miss four of those nine times.
The Tigers will play Louisiana-Lafayette in next season’s Wally Pontiff Classic, a game set for April 1.
Henri Faucheux (3-0) got the win on the mound for LSU, which used seven pitchers. The Tigers pitched a shut out over the final six innings.
Danny Zardon replaced Kramer Robertson at second base to start the third inning. Robertson committed a second-inning error. … Left fielder Jake Fraley got his second straight start. … Immediately after Tuesday’s game, LSU was set to board a sleeper bus for a trip to Memphis. They were scheduled to drive through the night and arrive in Memphis at 5:15 a.m. Players and coaches will sleep for about five hours before visiting St. Jude Children’s hospital before heading to Oxford for practice.