New Orleans --- In 2010 Paul Mainieri watched intently as Kevin Berry shut the door on his LSU Tigers in a UNO Privateers uniform.
Fast forward a year and Berry has become Mainieri’s most consistent option out of the LSU bullpen.
Berry entered a tied game Tuesday night against Tulane (18-11) in the seventh inning with runners on first and third and one out for Green Wave’s leading hitter, Jeremy Schaffer.
Berry induced a double play ground ball to silence the threat, and LSU put up two runs in the eighth – which was all Berry needed as he finished the 7-5 LSU win off.
“[Berry] has been an outstanding pitcher for us at the end of the games,” Mainieri said. “We saw that last year when we played UNO and he did it to us. He's got great poise, and he's got great control. He's doing a great job.”
The win was LSU’s first at Turchin Stadium since 2008.
“They give us everything they have every time we play them,” said Tiger shortstop Austin Nola, who was previously 0-2 at Tulane. “To come over here and get a win is huge for us. It gets the confidence going for sure."
Nola got the Tigers (21-8) on the board in the first with a sacrifice fly, scoring Raph Rhymes, who singled on the first pitch of the game.
After coaxing a two-out walk from Green Wave starter David Napoli, Nola came around to score on Mason Katz’s RBI double to left field. Alex Edward followed with a ringing triple to the gap in left centerfield to make the Tiger lead 3-0.
Tulane, who entered the game having scored only three runs during a five-game losing streak, wouldn’t go quietly.
The Wave scored a pair of runs in the third inning on three consecutive one-out singles and a fielder’s choice.
A Mikie Mahtook RBI ground out in the fourth padded the Tiger lead to 4-2, but starter Joe Broussard wouldn’t last through the bottom half of the inning.
A Tyler Hanover throwing error allowed Nick Schneeberger to reach, and Bowen Woodson then singled. Quinn Pippin put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third and end Broussard’s night.
Tyler Jones came on for LSU and promptly yielded a two- run single to Matt Ryan to knot the score at four.
Nick Boullosa started the Tulane fifth by beating out an infield single. He swiped second, moved to third on a Schaffer single and scored on a chopper back to the mound from Blake Crohan, giving Tulane a 5-4 lead.
They haven’t been scoring many runs lately, and I thought [the 3-0 lead] might be enough, but they fought back,” Mainieri said. “They came up with a couple of big hits. They didn’t knock the cover off the ball, but you have to give them credit.”
LSU manufactured the tying run in the seventh.
JaCoby Jones was hit by a 1-0 delivery from Andrew Gardner, who had thrown a perfect fifth and sixth. He stole second and moved to third on an Austin Nola single that chased Gardner.
Tulane coach Rick Jones went to Baton Rouge native Alex Facundus to face Katz, and Mainieri went to the safety squeeze, as he’s done all season.
Katz executed it to tie the game at 5-5.
Berry entered the game with one out in the seventh and runners on the corners and got the double play to end the threat.
JaCoby Jones’ RBI single and Austin Nola’s second sacrifice fly gave the Tigers the lead in the eighth, and Berry took it the rest of the way to earn his second win of the year.