LSU routs Mississippi State to complete sweep

LSU put an exclamation point on a weekend sweep of Mississippi State with a 17-4 shellacking of the Bulldogs. The Tigers combined for 20 hits and hit a pair of homers to end the series in grand fashion.

It rained runs on a misty Sunday at Alex Box Stadium as No. 10 LSU (24-8-1, 6-5-1 SEC) put on an offensive display to complete the sweep against No. 13 Mississippi State (20-13, 6-6).

The Tigers combined for 20 hits en route to a 17-4 shellacking of the Bulldogs. LSU scored almost half as many runs Sunday as they had in their previous 11 SEC games. It also marked their highest run total in a conference game since May 4 last season.

Every batter in the starting lineup got a hit, and eight of the nine brought in a run. The Tigers hit two homers Sunday and had five players recorded multiple RBI.

"It's hard to put in words," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We finished off the weekend in grand fashion. I felt very strongly our guys were going to come out and play great today."

The onslaught started in the first inning as Tyler Moore and Conner Hale each brought in a run with a single. The Tigers scored two more in the next inning with a double by Mark Laird that ended up in the visitor's bullpen.

LSU really broke it open with a three-run third, with all the offense in that inning coming with two outs. Jake Fraley got it started with a single through the left side, and Christian Ibarra was hit in the next at-bat. Andrew Stevenson brought in Fraley with a single, and Sean McMullen plated two more with a double to deep left field.

"Everyone clicked today," Ibarra said. "We were all being aggressive. We took advantage of the pitches, and when the time came that we needed a hit, we came through."

The Tigers took a break from scoring in the fourth but returned with a vengeance to score 10 in the next three innings. Laird singled to bring in one run in the fifth, and Alex Bregman's base hit up the middle scored two more.

The Tigers had a big sixth inning with a pair of homers for six more runs. Ibarra got it started with a one-out solo shot that cleared the left field bleachers. After a pair of walks, Laird brought in his fourth run of the game with a double to right. Another walk loaded the bases for Kade Scivicque, who belted a grand slam to make it 16-2.

LSU plated one more with a groundout by Stevenson in the seventh.

"Today we just took advantage of most of the opportunities we had," Mainieri said. "We got a lot of big hits, and it was nice to finally put some crooked numbers up on the board."

Meanwhile, the LSU pitching staff didn't need to be perfect, but they did limit MSU to four runs on 12 hits.

Kyle Bouman returned to the mound for his first start since March 15 after missing the previous two with a sprained ankle. He struck out four in three scoreless innings before surrendering a run in the fourth. He gave up a one-out single to MSU LF Jake Vickerson and DH Gavin Collins brought him in with a double to left-center field.

"It was awesome to go out there and prove I can get extended a little bit," Bouman said. "I'll just keep building from here…I keep pounding the zone and trust the guys behind me to make the plays."

Parker Bugg replaced Bouman after that RBI-double and retired the next two to end the inning. But Bugg did surrender a run in the fifth on a RBI-single by C.T. Bradford.

Alden Cartwright worked a scoreless inning of relief before Kurt McCune gave up a run in the eight. The Bulldogs singled and doubled to open that inning to cut into the massive LSU lead.

Brady Domangue surrendered a run in the ninth, but he recorded the final out to complete LSU's first SEC sweep of the season.

The Tigers entered the weekend in last place in the SEC West and 11th overall in the conference. They finished the weekend in third in the division and fifth in the conference.

"We gained a lot of confidence out of this win," Bregman said. "It was a step in the right direction. We know we've still got a lot of stuff to work on, but we definitely feel good about this weekend, winning three games against a very good team that played for a national championship last season."


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