METAIRIE, La. No. 1 LSU scored five runs in the first inning for the second straight game in an 11-2 victory over Southern (12-13) Tuesday night in the 10th annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Classic at Zephyr Field. The win marked the Tigers' 13th consecutive victory as they improved to 31-2 on the year.
LSU increased its win streak against Louisiana schools to 22 consecutive games, and the Tigers have won 29 straight mid-week games. LSU's last loss to a Louisiana school came on April 12, 2011, when the Tigers dropped a 5-2 decision to Northwestern State. That game also marked the Tigers' last loss in a mid-week game.
Proceeds from Tuesday's game go to the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation, which benefits charitable organizations throughout Louisiana.
LSU and Southern will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium. The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television, and it can be heard in the Geaux Zone at LSUSports.net and on LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates.
Junior right-hander Kurt McCune (1-0) earned the victory in his season debut, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three in three innings of work. McCune had been sidelined by a stress fracture in his back suffered prior to the start of the season.
LSU reliever Brent Bonvillain was outstanding on the mound in three innings of work, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out a career-high seven hitters.
'This was a tremendous experience for our players, competing in front of our great New Orleans fans in a Triple-A ball park for a wonderful cause,' said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. 'I thought we played with a lot of intensity early and I liked the approach we had at the plate to score those five first-inning runs. It was great to see Kurt back on the mound again, and I thought he delivered an excellent outing that he can build upon. Brent Bonvillain was dominant on the mound in his three innings with seven strikeouts, and that helped us stretch the lead midway through the game.'
Senior first baseman Mason Katz (2-for-3) opened the first-inning scoring Tuesday with his SEC-leading 56th and 57th RBI of the season on a single to left field.
Later in the inning, freshman center fielder Andrew Stevenson beat out a ground ball to second, scoring two runs and extending the Tigers' lead to 4-0.
Freshman catcher Michael Barash (2-for-3) batted in the fifth run of the first frame with a single to left field.
Southern rallied back in the second and third innings with RBI from right fielder DJ Wesley and designated hitter Jose De La Torre, cutting the LSU lead to 5-2. However shortstop Alex Bregman quickly widened the gap in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded triple off of the left field wall, giving the Tigers an 8-2 advantage.
Bregman's fourth inning three-bagger extends his hitting streak to 21 straight games.
Freshman outfielder Mark Laird provided insurance runs in the seventh inning with a two-run double.
Southern starting pitcher Camilo Godoy (0-3) suffered the loss, giving up nine runs (six earned) on nine hits and three walks and two strikeouts.