Tigers hammer Houston 9-3

A light mist dampened the field at Alex Box Stadium but did not affect LSU's bats as the Tigers took care of Houston 9-3 Friday night. <br><br> Ryan Patterson and Blake Gill each went 3-for-5 to lead LSU. The Tigers pounded out 14 hits and Justin Meier threw seven and a third innings improving to 3-0 on the season.

"I liked our offense," said LSU head coach Smoke Laval. "We had a good plan. We only struck out twice, had 14 hits and had several hard outs."

 

LSU (11-1) won its ninth straight game, the longest winning streak since the Tigers won 10 in a row from Feb. 17 through March 3 early in the 2001 season. For Laval, Friday's win was his 100th win since being named head coach in 2002.

 

"Really?" Laval asked when he was informed of the milestone victory. "All I need now is 1,200 more (wins) and I can be right up there with (Mississippi State's) Ron Polk."

 

The Tigers (11-1) started slowly as Houston opened up a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Meier was touched up in the early innings. Although the sophomore right-hander settled down, he would give up 10 hits and two earned runs before he left in the eighth.

 

"I might have to say in the first through the fourth inning, I was not at my best," Meier said. "I left the ball up a little. My best innings were the sixth and seventh."

 

Laval said the plan was to test Meier's stamina.

 

"He competed then he found it," Laval said. "I can breathe a little easier because he was able to find his arm slot there in the sixth and seventh innings. We wanted to elongate it (the game) for him, regardless of the score, and get him up to 120 pitches so he could find it."

 

The Tigers evened the score in the bottom of the third when Patterson singled to right field and scored two batters later on a Matt Liuzza sacrifice fly. The score remained 1-1 until the Tigers finally got to Houston pitcher Garrett Mock in the fifth. LSU opened the inning with four straight hits as Derek Hebert, J.C. Holt, Patterson and Gill allreached safely. Following a Liuzza walk, Clay Harris and Nick Stavinoha each contributed sacrifice flies scoring Holt and Patterson.

 

"We wanted to be patient and make the guy (Mock) throw strikes," said Liuzza, who looks to build on his 11-game hitting streak. "We were patient and that's why we started getting runs later in the game."

 

The Cougars (4-8) cut LSU's lead to 4-2 with a run in the sixth, but the Tigers responded with a two-spot in the seventh and three more in the eighth to win decisively.

The series continues tomorrow as LSU will send junior southpaw Lane Mestepey (2-0, 1.53 ERA) to face Houston's senior right-hander Matt Varner (2-1, 4.15 ERA). First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.


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