LSU hammers Houston 8-2, wins series

Smoke Laval was looking to see how his team would respond to Saturday's 10-5 loss to Houston. Let's just say the Tigers passed the test with flying colors.

Powered by a three-run first inning, LSU (12-2) grabbed an early lead and never looked back in an 8-2 whitewashing of the Cougars Sunday's finale of the three-game series at Alex Box Stadium.


"Today showed that they (LSU) have character," Laval said. "I knew they did, but it is early in the season and it was good for them to check their guts like that. It showed me they have a lot of poise and a lot of confidence."


Nate Bumstead (2-0) was impressive in getting the win for the Tigers. Nearly going the distance, Bumstead kept Houston (5-9) off the scoreboard for 8 1/3 innings before the Cougars dented the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. In all though, the junior right-hander allowed two earned runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts.


"Smoke has been trying to get us throwing as much as we can," said Bumstead of his 118-pitch performance Sunday. "He has been wanting us to get our pitch counts up the closer we get to SEC play."


While Bumstead was sharp on the mound, the LSU offense stole the show. The Tigers belted 15 hits led by a blistering 3-for-4 showing by junior rightfielder Jon Zeringue. Narrowly missing the cycle, Zeringue homered, triple and doubled leading the attack.


"I messed up on my first at-bat with that check swing," Zeringue kidded. "Their outfielders were laying back on some hits, so any chance I had, I tried for extra bases."


Matt Liuzza extended his hitting streak to 13 games going 3-for-5 with a double and two singles. J.C. Holt went 3-for-5 as well with a trio of base hits.


LSU struck first blood in the first when Holt opened the game with a single to center. Ryan Patterson followed suit with a single to left and Blake Gill loaded the bases with a base on balls. Holt came across on a wild pitch and Patterson and Gill both scored on Liuzza's single to center.


"Every Sunday, it's kind of unfair to the other pitchers," Bumstead quipped. "I always get like five or six runs, sometimes 10 to work with."


The game remained 3-0 until the sixth when Zeringue's two-run home run ended any doubt. LSU went to the seventh leading 6-0 and added a two-spot in the seventh making it 8-0.


Brad Lincoln (1-1) took the loss for the Cougars surrendering five earned runs on 11 hits in five innings of work. LSU's Jason Determann came on in relief of Bumstead and faced three batters.

The Tigers are back in action Tuesday night when they travel Monroe for a 6:30 p.m. date with the ULM Indians.

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