Baton Rouge -- At this point any win for the LSU baseball team is a good one.
The Tigers (22-12) snapped a four game losing streak with a 7-1 win against Alcorn State on Wednesday night at Alex Box Stadium.
After scoring in just three of their previous 36 innings, LSU tallied runs in three frames against the visiting Braves, who could only scratch three hits against Tiger pitching.
The home team wasted no time throwing a crooked number up in the first inning.
Raph Rhymes led off with a walk. Tyler Hanover sacrificed him to second, and Mikie Mahtook doubled Rhymes home.
Austin Nola followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0 Tigers.
“It was important to get a lead,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “When you team’s confidence is a little fragile, it’s always good to get off to a fast start so they don’t start pressing.”
Tiger starter Forrest Garrett, making just his second appearance of the season off of shoulder surgery, fired three scoreless innings of one-hit ball to pace the Tiger staff.
“My arm feels great,” Garrett said. “It feels good to get out there and help the team win, which is what I’ve been wanting to do for the past year now.”
Reliever Nick Rumbelow ran into some trouble in the fourth inning allowing runners to reach the corners with just one out, but a 3-6-3 double play erased the Brave threat.
LSU padded the lead in the fourth with a three-run inning, two of which came on a Ty Ross RBI double to the gap in right centerfield.
“I feel like I’ve come a long way hitting,” Ross said after his three-RBI night. “I started off slow. The game is just faster. It just takes time like anything else.”
The Tiger defense struck again in the sixth inning.
Rumbelow yielded a pair of walks, prompting Mainieri to get Samuel Peterson out of the Tiger pen to put out the fire.
After allowing an RBI infield single to Kilby Perdomo, a ground out and a walk loaded the bases with two out and the Tiger lead at 5-1.
Angel Rosa fisted a ball that, the way things have been going for the Tigers, seemed ticketed for centerfield, but JaCoby Jones tracked it down to leave the bases loaded.
“The highlight of the night, for me, was the defense,” Mainieri said. “It was a good thing to see us play some good defense.”
In the sixth Terrence Stubbs relieved Alcorn State starter Brent Blaum, who allowed five earned runs in his five innings of work.
JaCoby Jones greeted Stubbs with a single, and Kirk Cunningham laid down a bunt that Antolin Morales fielded and threw wide of first base to allow Cunningham to reach and Jones to move to third.
Spencer Ware’s groundout to third allowed Cunningham to advance to second for Ross, who ripped a ground ball through Morales at third. Morales was charged with the error, and Jones and Cunningham scored to make the lead 7-1.
Daniel Bradshaw, Chris Cotton and Kevin Berry combined to blank the Braves over the final two frames and seal the Tiger win.
“We needed a win bad,” Nola said. “No matter if it was ugly or not, we did what we needed to do.”
The Tigers focus now shifts to Auburn, who comes in this weekend for a pivotal Southeastern Conference series at The Box beginning Friday night at 7 p.m.
Kurt McCune will take the mound for LSU after suffering his first career loss last Friday against Arkansas.