Baton Rouge --- When the LSU Tigers got to Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday night their purple jersey were hanging up in their lockers.
“I told the manager to get rid of them,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We’re going gold, because there’s power in the gold.”
LSU (25-17) wore the gold uniforms during the record setting 23-game winning streak in 2008.
Tuesday night, five gold-clad Tigers crossed the plate in the first inning, and LSU never looked back, routing Nicholls State 12-3.
After an unearned Colonel run crossed the plate in the top of the first, the LSU bats wasted no time getting to Nicholls State starter Dalton Torres.
Trey Watkins, who collected four hits over the weekend at Vanderbilt, led the inning off with the first of his three hits to ignite the LSU bats.
“We needed to come out and get a good start,” Watkins said. “I’m seeing the ball really well right now, and I’m feeling much more confident.”
Watkins moved to second on Spencer Ware’s ground out, and Mikie Mahtook singled to left to plate Watkins.
After a Raph Rhymes pop out and an Austin Nola base on balls, the men in gold struck for four runs with two outs, something LSU has failed to produce time and time again.
Tyler Hanover laced an RBI double in the left center field gap to score Mahtook and Nola and give LSU a 3-1 lead before Alex Edward punctuated the inning with a missile into the bleachers in left center for his second homer of the year to make it 5-1.
“We’ve been hearing about the two-out hit for awhile,” Hanover said following his 3-for-3 night. “We had some good at bats tonight, and now it’s just doing it in conference play.”
JaCoby Jones opened the bottom of the second with a ringing double off the left field wall. He came around to score on Spencer Ware’s RBI double.
Mahtook roped LSU’s third double of the inning to score Ware. He then stole third base and scampered home on Rhymes’ groundout.
Pitching with a sizeable lead, Eades work into some trouble in the third. A pair of singles, a double and a hit batsman loaded the bases with one out.
After a mound visit, Eades fanned Kasey Culverson and Mace Krol to leave the bases loaded and begin a string of nine consecutive Colonels he would retire.
“I thought Eades got stronger as the game went on,” Mainieri said. “I thought he looked more and more comfortable out there.”
A two-out RBI single in the top of the sixth inning ended Eades’ longest career outing after 5 2/3 innings, where he allowed three runs, two earned, and struck out a career high six batters.
“I just went out there and let it rip,” Eades said. “Coach wanted to let me go and get some endurance. It felt great.”
The Tiger bats answered the Nicholls State run in the sixth.
Watkins continued his torrid pace, stroking a single up the middle. Ware followed with an opposite single, which allowed the speedy Watkins to advance to third and score on a Mahtook sacrifice fly.
“I believe that Trey Watkins is emerging and is going to become a vital force for our team down the stretch,” Mainieri said.
Watkins had a hand in LSU’s three-run seventh, as well.
Nola and Hanover each singled to lead off the inning. Edward’s sacrifice fly and Ty Ross’ double over centerfielder Bear Comer’s head scored those two, and Watkins third single of the night allowed pinch runner Grant Dozar to scamper home for LSU’s 12th run of the game.
Daniel Bradshaw, Joe Broussard, Nick Rumbelow, and Jimmy Dykstra combined to hurl 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Eades (2-1) to cruise to the finish line.
LSU welcomes Kentucky in for a rare Thursday through Saturday SEC series beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Freshman Kurt McCune will get the start will get the start for the Tigers.