Once Zell (3-0) exited the game, reliever Ryan Wagner almost literally took the bats out of the Tigers' hands going the final three innings without yielding a hit and seven strikeouts.
"Ryan Wagner was good for us out of the bullpen like he has been all year and it's good to pick up the first win of the series," said Houston head coach Rayner Noble.
Poor fielding also hindered the Tigers as LSU committed four errors in Saturday's loss.
"I think they shot themselves in the foot a little bit," Noble said. "But the one thing we did is we took advantage of their mistakes and it hurt (LSU)."
The Cougars (3-5) struck the scoreboard first in the second inning as left fielder Gabe Lucas knocked a solo home run over the right-center field wall.
Lucas entered Saturday's contest with only two hits in 11 at bats and no home runs or RBIs.
LSU (5-4) put together a fifth-inning rally to even the contest 1-1.
Freshman first baseman Will Harris knocked a base hit into right field and Lucas booted the baseball advancing Harris to second base. Tiger catcher Dustin Weaver laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Harris to third. Center fielder J.C. Holt drove in Harris on a sacrifice fly to left field.
UH responded in the top of the sixth with four runs knocking LSU starter Jake Tompkins out of the game. First baseman Brett Cooley reached first after being hit by a pitch. Designated hitter Thanos Papavasiliou singled which put runners at first and third with no outs. UH third baseman Hyung Cho drove in Cooley and Papavasiliou to make it 3-1.
Two batters later, UH center fielder Sam Mitchell singled and Cho scored on a throwing error by LSU left fielder Ryan Patterson. Mitchell then scored the final run of the inning on a Kevin Roberts single.
Tompkins said the velocity in his fastball went away in the second inning and he felt like he was out of gas.
"It's hard, you felt like you let your team down," Tompkins said. "It's hard to live with."
LSU head coach Smoke Laval said he's puzzled by the loss of Tompkins' velocity in the last two weeks.
"I don't understand it," Laval said. "From what I hear he's 88 or 89 (miles per hour) and then he dropped to 84 to 86 like he did against Kansas. It's not because of his conditioning because he is probably in his best condition. That's the mystery here. I haven't seen it and don't why and still pitched well."
The senior hurler went five and one third innings allowing seven hits and five earned runs in his first loss of the season.
The Tigers added a run in the bottom of the sixth as right fielder Jon Zeringue doubled scoring Patterson from first to cut the lead to 5-2.
Zeringue was one of the few bright spots for LSU offensively batting two-for-four and picking up an RBI, his eighth of the season.
Houston padded its lead in the top of the eighth with Mitchell and shortstop Stuart Musslewhite crossed the plate to end the scoring.
Cooley led the UH offensive attack going two-for-four from the plate and scored a run.
Eight of the 10 Houston players to step up to the plate reached first base with a hit.
LSU second baseman Aaron Hill said the Tigers have a great team but he just can't understand the squad's early-season offensive woes.
"It's not just the lead-off guy or the nine-hole hitter, it's everybody," Hill said. "We've got to have everybody in a groove at the same time. Not just one guy in one win or another guy in another win. I don't know but this can't go on too much longer."