No. 10 LSU uses big inning to beat Maryland

No. 10 LSU advanced to 2-0 on the season with a 5-1 victory against Maryland on Saturday. The offense finally came alive and the pitching staff had another impressive outing.

No. 10 LSU's bats finally came alive as the Tigers capitalized on a big seventh inning to take a 5-1 victory against Maryland on Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.

After the LSU (2-0) offense only produced one run through the first 15 innings of the 2013 season, the Tigers, with the help of some Maryland (0-2) miscues, blew up for four runs in the seventh inning.

Mason Katz drew a one-out walk to get things started as the next five LSU batters reached base. JaCoby Jones followed Katz with another walk — his third this season — and pinch hitter Alex Edward put LSU on the board with a RBI single to right field.

"For a while there I didn't know if we were ever going to score," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri.

Ty Ross continued the production, reaching on a bunt in the gap between first base and the picther's mound, driving in Jones from third base. Christian Ibarra added another run with a hit similar to Edward's that scored pinch-runner Jared Foster from second.

Maryland did its part to help as Ross then came around to score on a passed ball.

LSU would add one more run in the eighth inning when Sean McMullen, making his first career LSU at bat, drove in Raph Rhymes with a single to right field.

"It's hard to be on the bench the whole game in these conditions," Mainieri said, complimenting the two pinch-hitters that drove in runs. "With very little notice, they have to get ready to go and face a tough pitcher. Both of them came through with big base hits that really set the tone for the end of the game."

The LSU pitching staff combined for another impressive outing after blanking Maryland on Friday. Ryan Eades kicked off his season with 6 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball with six strikeouts on six hits and a walk.

Eades didn't allow a runner to second base until the fifth inning when DH Matt Bosse advanced on a two-out single by Kevin Martir. Eades escaped the minor jam with a swinging strikeout to end the inning.

"I felt good coming into the game," Eades said. "I just wanted to be aggressive and let my defense play behind me. They made some tremendous plays to keep us in the game. I think it was a great overall team win. We had a couple of clutch hits. The pitching was good today, the defense was great and the offense came through and we were able to get the job done."

Eades left the game a bit shaky, walking LaMonte Wade on four pitches to put two runners on base with one out for reliever Kevin Berry. Freshman Mark Laird then did his part to preserve the lead with two impressive plays in right field.

Laird ran down a ball in the right-center gap then followed that with a grab up against the wall in the LSU bullpen.

"He made tremendous plays when we really needed them most," Mainieri said. "That catch in right-center was probably a two-run saving catch. He dealt with the wind, and the sun and everything else to make a phenomenal catch. He practically went into the stands to make that catch to end the inning."

Chris Cotton relieved Berry to open the eighth inning and allowed a run on a RBI single by Jordan Hagel. Cotton then struck out three of the next six batters he faced to close out the game.

Slated to be the Sunday starter, Cotton won't be available after throwing consecutive days out of the bullpen due to an injury to Kurt McCune. Brent Bonvillain will start the game for LSU on Sunday, and Mainieri said he expects for several new pitchers to get in the game as well.

"Joey Bourgeois will be back available, and maybe he'll be our closer Sunday night," Mainieri said (Bourgeois pitched a scoreless frame Friday). "But we're obviously going to be using some pitchers that haven't seen the mound yet…For us to win, we'll have to see some new pitchers step up."

First pitch for the series finale between LSU and Maryland is set for noon.

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