With two outs and a runner on base Tuesday night, Daniel Cabrera launched a ball into the left field seats at Alex Box Stadium to give LSU its first lead.
The Tigers entered the third inning losing to UNO by two runs. Sophomore Devin Fontenot, starting for the first time this season, had struggled. But Cabrera’s home run capped a four-run inning.
LSU won 7-5 while it wore white jerseys to make the night feel more like a Friday in the Southeastern Conference.
The Tigers (32-21) beat an in-state team for the first time since April 2. They ended their regular season schedule 6-5 against in-state teams.
UNO (28-25) outhit LSU and had three home runs, but the Privateers stranded eight runners in scoring position.
"Pitched out of a lot of jams tonight, didn't we?" coach Paul Mainieri said. "We got the big outs when we needed them."
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Fontenot, who leads LSU in saves this season, had struggled with his command recently. He hoped starting a game without the pressure of the ninth inning would help him find his edge.
Fontenot looked vulnerable through the second inning. He gave up a single to the leadoff hitter. He fell behind in two counts. With one out, he allowed a two-run homer to Antonio Gauthier. Fontenot did not allow another run.
"I gave up a home run," Fontenot said. "So what? I was trying to throw the ball over the plate, and everything felt pretty good. It gave me some confidence going into the weekend."
Helped by an error, LSU loaded the bases in the third inning. It scored a run when Brandt Broussard grounded into a double play.
With two outs, senior Antoine Duplantis dropped a single into shallow left field. Another run scored, tying the game.
Chris Reid started on Saturday at first base. Then he took reps there at practice two days later.
Before Cabrera walked to the plate, Mainieri told him to look for a ball middle-away. Cabrera fouled a few pitches, and he reached a full count. Then he hit an opposite-field home run — his team-high 12th of the season — to take the lead.
"I put a good swing on it," Cabrera said.
The Tigers used five pitchers to preserve the win. None of them threw more than two innings.
Mainieri brought in Matthew Beck for the third inning. LSU had changed its weekend rotation — Mainieri did yet not say how — making Beck and Ma'Khail Hilliard available for Tuesday night. (Hilliard did not play because of an illness.)
UNO loaded the bases against Beck before a fly out stranded the runners.
Jaden Hill, Cole Henry and Landon Marceaux started three of LSU baseball's first four games. They have all missed time because of injuries.
UNO loaded the bases again in the sixth inning. Aaron George, who earlier gave up a solo home run, induced a groundout to end the inning.
Duplanits hit his 10th home run of the season, and the Tigers scored another two runs in the eighth as they stretched their lead to 7-3. The insurance runs ended up making a difference.
Zack Hess, who had entered with two outs in the eighth inning, gave up another two-run homer to Gauthier. Then Hess issued a walk. Hess struck out the final two batters as he earned his first save of the season.
"Even though Hess had to throw more pitches than I'd like, and even though they got a couple runs off him, he got the big outs at the end when he needed to," Mainieri said. "That's all that counts. That's good experience for him to do that."