POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 4:04pm
Metarie, La — Eight LSU pitchers combined to scatter eight hits Wednesday night, and the Tigers capitalized on 10 walks issued by Southern Miss pitching to post an 8-3 victory over the Golden Eagles in the ninth annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Baseball Classic at Zephyr Field.
LSU, which won for the 10th time in 11 games, improved to 27-7 on the year. The Tigers play host to Alabama this weekend in a three-game SEC series beginning with Game 1 at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium.
Southern Miss dropped to 19-13 with Wednesday's loss.
The Tigers erased an early 2-0 Southern Miss lead with four runs in the bottom of the first inning as LSU took advantage of six walks and a hit batsman issued by three USM pitchers.
LSU scored its four first-inning runs on bases-loaded walks to first baseman Tyler Moore, third baseman Tyler Hanover, catcher Ty Ross and leftfielder Jared Foster.
The Tigers added a run in the third on a run-scoring single by centerfielder Arby Fields, and LSU expanded its lead to 8-2 with three runs in the sixth on two bases-loaded hit batsmen and a bases-loaded walk.
"It was kind of an awkward game, but I thought we executed and did what we needed to do to win," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Our pitching was excellent; we really pounded the strike zone and attacked their hitters. It's always nice to get a win in front of our fans in the New Orleans area, and our players really enjoyed the experience of playing in a Triple-A ball park and honoring the memory of Wally Pontiff."
Wally Pontiff Jr., an all-SEC third baseman at LSU, died in 2002 at the age of 21 due to a heart abnormality. Proceeds from Wednesday's game will go to the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation, which benefits charitable organizations throughout Louisiana.
LSU starting pitcher Aaron Nola (4-1) was credited with the victory as he worked the first inning and was charged with one earned run on two hits with no walks and one strikeout.
Left-hander Brent Bonvillain, who relieved Nola to begin the second inning, fired three scoreless frames with no walks and three strikeouts. LSU's pitching effort was also highlighted by the one-inning outings of right-handers Joey Bourgeois and Kurt McCune, who struck out the sides in the fifth and eighth innings, respectively.
USM starter Taylor Nunez (1-3) was charged with the loss as he allowed four runs on no hits in 0.1 inning with three walks and no strikeouts.
LSU 8, Southern Mississippi 3 (Apr 11, 2012 at Metairie, La.)
Southern Mississippi 200 000 001 - 3 8 3 (19-13)
LSU......................... 401 003 00X - 8 4 1 (27-7)
Pitchers: Southern Mississippi - Taylor Nunez; Cody Livingston(1); James McMahon(1);
Josh Rogers(6); Matt Warren(6); Jay Myrick(7); Cameron Giannini(8) and Chase Fowler;
Austin Roussel. LSU - Aaron Nola; Brent Bonvillain(2); Joey Bourgeois(5); Chris Cotton(6);
Kevin Berry(7); Kurt McCune(8); Cody Glenn(9); Nick Goody(9) and Ty Ross.
Win-Aaron Nola(4-1) Loss-Taylor Nunez(1-3) T-3:07 A-7994
Livingston faced 2 batters in the 1st.
Rogers faced 2 batters in the 6th.