Notre Dame’s Eric Gilgenbach put an exclamation point Sunday on the Irish’s rude visit to Alex Box Stadium.
The big right fielder already had two home runs to his name when he came up with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of Notre Dame's rubber game with LSU. He collected a third, turning a Nick Bush offering into a dent on the scoreboard beyond the left-field wall.
Whatever hope existed for an LSU comeback quickly left the place. The sounds of Gilgenbach and his teammates raucously celebrating to the side of home plate dominated the air as the stadium exits became a stream of purple and gold.
Notre Dame thumped LSU 11-3 to win the three-game series.
"This whole weekend, we just totally were outclassed: playing, coaching, just everything," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "... They came down here very prepared, very tough.
"... Everything they did, they did extremely well. I've got to give them a lot of credit. They came down here and took it to us."
Before this weekend, the last time LSU (1-2) dropped a season-opening series the President’s name was Bill Clinton and Britney Spears topped the charts with “...Baby One More Time.” That was in 1999.
As it had done in the first two games, Notre Dame (2-1) took control early against LSU's starting pitcher. Sunday, it happened when Todd Peterson (0-1) lost his command for a spell in the fourth inning.
Peterson walked two of the first three batters he faced in that inning. The fourth batter was Gilgenbach, who launched a three-run home run out to right-center field.
"I didn't have a feel for anything today," Peterson said. "I wasn't pitching in my counts."
The Irish put together another three-run inning in the sixth, all scoring with two outs. Spencer Myers, the No. 9 hitter, hammered a two-run single through the middle of the LSU infield off freshman Devin Fontenot, then stole second and scored on Cole Daily’s double.
LSU fell behind early because it was matching Notre Dame’s crooked numbers with 1s and 0s.
The Tigers' best chance at a big inning came in the fifth, when LSU brought its No. 2 hitter to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out.
But Nick Webre’s smash toward the middle was hauled in by Notre Dame shortstop Cole Daily, who traded a run for an easy 6-3 double play. LSU’s rally fizzled.
Beau Jordan, one of the few LSU players to enjoy a high degree of success in the series, said LSU was not a focused team Sunday. The senior said he talked to the team after the game about the "LSU legacy" that it did not uphold opening weekend.
"We've just got to come together, bottom line, period, that's it," Jordan said.
LSU will return to Alex Box Stadium on Wednesday evening against a UNO team that swept the Tigers last season.
"We obviously have a lot of work to do," Mainieri said. "I knew going into the season that it was going to be a long road. We were going to have to make some strides throughout the year. It became very obvious this weekend there are a lot of areas we need to get better at."