LSU offense comes alive in 7-3 victory

No. 3 LSU bounced back in a big way offensively on Tuesday night in their 7-3 victory over McNeese State. It was a game that the Tigers needed after the offensive struggles that they had over the weekend. The offense got some help in the game from the LSU pitching staff.

After a weekend where the offense was struggling, No. 3 LSU (40-6) came out looking to make a statement against McNeese State (20-22). The Tigers did just that as they collected 15 hits and scored seven runs on their way to their 40th victory of the 2013 season with a 7-3 win.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri was very satisfied with how his team played tonight. Throughout the game, it was very apparent that the Tigers had found the fire that many players were talking about missing over the weekend. Aggression at the plate and on the mound was very pleasing to Mainieri following the matchup.

"I'm really proud of the way that we approached the game tonight," said Mainieri. "Our guys came out with a fire in their eyes. We played really well on the mound and we had some great at bats tonight at the plate. Mark Laird played really well tonight. It was a solid victory all-around tonight and we got that 40th victory."

There were multiple contributors to the LSU offense in the victory. Freshman Mark Laird collected two hits and drove a run in, while scoring two crucial runs for the Tigers. Senior Mason Katz has been in somewhat of a drought, but he collected two hits and his first RBI since April 10th tonight. Katz explained that it was nice to break the bad streak that he had been on.

"It was nice to get a lot of hits tonight and score runs," said Katz. "It feels much better to have that streak behind me. Coach Mainieri even joked around with me about wanting to keep the ball when I got that RBI."

The other two standouts of the evening at the plate were juniors JaCoby Jones and Christian Ibarra. Jones finished the night by going 3-3 with one RBI and one run scored. Ibarra had the best night among the LSU lineup by going 3-4 with two runs scored and one RBI. Ibarra also had a big homerun in the second inning of the game.

Overall, Mainieri was very satisfied with what he saw from his offense on Tuesday night.

"Mason swung the bat well tonight and finally got that 61st RBI tonight," said Mainieri. "Mark Laird also swung the bat really well tonight. JaCoby Jones looks more confident at the plate. He had some really big hits for us tonight and that made me happy. They swung the bats really well and with a lot of aggression."

Even with the success that the Tigers had at the plate, Mainieri was still complimentary of the McNeese State pitching staff.

"Their pitcher wasn't bad," said Maineiri. "He threw pretty well, but we just hit really well."

One of the stranger events of the evening occurred before the first pitch was ever thrown. With Cody Glenn scheduled to start tonight, Mainieri made a change to throw Hunter Newman in order to save Glenn for the Florida series this weekend. It worked out well for the Tigers as Newman pitched very well tonight. He finished his outing by going three innings and only allowing two hits. Mainieri felt that Newman performed beyond expectations.

"I really wanted to throw him two innings, but he was throwing well," said Mainieri. "He kept his pitch count down and he was staying down in the zone. He threw really well tonight."

LSU threw a total of seven pitchers on Tuesday night and Mainieri was happy with the performances of every one of them. Junior Will LaMarche looked like the pitcher that Mainieri knew he could be tonight. LaMarche threw two innings and only allowed one hit with three strikeouts. Throughout the time he was on the mound, LaMarche displayed great control and he had excellent command of the strike zone, according to Mainieri.

"That was the best I've seen Will LaMarche pitch," said Mainieri. "He looked like a major leaguer out there. He had a downhill angle and he pounded the zone tonight. He really showed a lot of maturity out there."

The rest of the LSU pitching staff threw beyond the expectations of Mainieri tonight. After the game, Mainieri singled out Mitch Sewald as one guy that pitched very well. The stat line may not show it (1.1 innings, two hits, and two runs), but Sewald also suffered from some inconsistent defensive play while he was on the mound.

LSU got back on track tonight in the areas that were concerns for them. With this victory now in the past, the Tigers will begin preparations for their SEC series against Florida beginning on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium, a game which Cody Glenn will start.

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