Katz goes deep twice in LSU victory

LSU used the early innings to produce runs and knock Washington starter Austin Voth out of the game on Saturday. Mason Katz led all Tigers in the game with two homeruns and 5 RBI.

For LSU senior Mason Katz, Saturday night was a very effective evening at the plate. In game 2 of a three-game set against Washington, Katz took Huskies starter Austin Voth deep twice early in the game. Katz finished the game with five RBI as well, which helped propel LSU to an 8-4 victory.

Katz, who is now hitting .333 with four homeruns and a team-leading 22 RBI on the season, struck early and often against Voth. The first of his homeruns was a line drive over the left field wall that scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. According to Katz, he just wanted to push across one run in the inning, but he got his pitch to hit.

"We were just trying to get out to an early lead," said Katz. "I got down to two strikes in that first plate appearance and my goal was to just get a base hit and score a run. Luckily I was able to get enough of it to give us a three run lead."

Katz gave a lot of credit to Voth for keeping LSU off-balance for most of the evening while he was in the game. While he did the same to Katz, the former Jesuit High School standout explained that one mistake by Voth led to the first three runs being scored for the Tigers.

"He was mixing up everything," said Katz. "The first two strikes were a slider and a change-up. He came at me with two fastballs right after that. He mixed me up pretty well, but he threw a fastball on the inside of the plate that I was able to get around on."

One homerun by Katz would have proved enough last night to secure victory for the Tigers. However, Katz saw similar results during his very next plate appearance.

"The other one, I just got ahead in the count because he threw me three straight off-speed pitches," said Katz. "He came with another fastball in and I was able to get turned and get my hands extended. I got the second one up in the wind more, so there was a little more certainty that it was gone."

Coach Paul Mainieri acknowledged that Katz got things going the Tigers early last night.

"Those homeruns, especially the one in the first inning, by Katz really gave us some momentum for the rest of the game and threw their starter off a little bit," said Mainieri. "The entire lineup had great approaches at the plate."

With regards to the performance of the LSU lineup as a whole, Katz believes that everyone is playing at the top of their game. It was very obvious on Saturday that the approaches of certain players have changed.

JaCoby Jones is the most obvious choice, as he matched his career-high in walks for a season in just the fourth weekend of 2013 with 15 for the year now. Katz explained that things like that make it easier for him to hit.

"It really helps us out a lot when the entire order hits or has the right approach," said Katz. "It makes it really hard to pitch around Raph [Rhymes] and I. The guys have done a great job of getting on base this weekend. [Christian] Ibarra and Jones are both performing really well right now. Jones is getting walked every other at bat almost."

After seeing the results of a good plate approach on Friday and Saturday, Katz believes that LSU will take the same approach to the plate for quite some time, especially with SEC play beginning next week.

"I hit the ball hard in game one, but today was a similar situation to some earlier series'," said Katz. "I just took the approach that we were facing a really good guy that we needed to get an early lead on and I think we did that effectively. I think our approach will stay the same for a while."

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