The win allowed LSU (31-14-1) to bounce back from a 9-5 defeat Tuesday night to Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome. The Tigers return to action Friday night by opening a three-game series at Starkville with Mississippi State. First pitch is slated for 6:30.
Putting forth a rather mundane performance Wednesday, the Tigers managed to take care of business and generate some steam heading into this weekend's key SEC Western Division series with the Bulldogs.
"In baseball, a win does not really build momentum," Laval said. "But we had some guys play well and got good offensive pressure and even our outs were hard. That was encouraging."
LSU beat UNO (20-25) for the sixth straight time within the confines of Alex Box Stadium and handed the Privateers their 11th loss in 12 meetings. New Orleans broke a streak of 10 straight losses against LSU in the teams' earlier meeting in which UNO topped the Tigers 5-4 at Zephyr Field.
Jason Determann started a midweek game for the third time in April, his second nod in as many weeks after getting a win in a 14-8 victory over Southeastern Louisiana last Tuesday. Laval was much happier with Determann this week as the Baton Rouge native worked eight innings, his longest outing of the season, while giving up two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
"Determann did an outstanding job tonight," Laval said.
The crafty southpaw was also pleased with his performance against the Privateers saying his fastball and curveball were working.
"It is a lot easier to pitch when you have more than one pitch working for you," Determann said. "I was able to locate my fastball better and was getting my curveball over for strikes."
He said he felt fatigue in the mid innings of last week's appearance, but Determann stressed he felt very comfortable on the hill Wednesday.
"I really didn't run into that wall this week," he said. "For the most part, I just tried to keep everything down and not give them anything to hit. When I did get it up, they hit it hard, but most of the time I located my pitches well. I was really just trying to get the job done."
As for pitching this weekend, Determann said it will take a few days to get his arm back where it needs to be, but an appearance in middle relief could be an option later in the series.
"I am probably out Friday, but by Saturday or Sunday, I should be ready to go," he said. "Hopefully we will get three complete games and they will not need me."
Billy Sadler came in mopping up the ninth in which he struck out two of the four batters he faced. He allowed no runs on one hit throwing 20 pitches.
Offensively, the Tigers swung a much livelier bat than they did against the Green Wave on Tuesday. LSU outhit the Privateers 11-9 on Wednesday with J.C. Holt leading the way with a 3-for-4 performance. Holt accounted for a trio of singles while Ivan Naccarata tripled and Matt Liuzza doubled.
"Last night was brutal," Aaron Hill said referring to LSU's 9-5 loss to Tulane on Tuesday. "But we got the juices flowing tonight getting ready for this weekend."
UNO took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third but LSU answering picking up a pair of runs in the home half of the fourth. The Privateers evened the tally at 2-2 with another lone run in the fifth. However, LSU blew the game open with a four-run spot in the bottom of the fifth.
Laval knows his squad must maintain its recent level of offensive production heading into such a critical series at Starkville this weekend.
"We are just trying to go up there, stay on an even level and control the things we can control," he said.
And what if things turn out badly?
"The juices will no doubt be flowing and our focus will be like quadrupled," Laval began, "but say we lose two of three. We have to remember we still have two more series after this one this weekend."