POSTED: Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 12:29am
UPDATED: Friday, March 18, 2011 - 1:57pm
THIBODAUX, La - No. 5 LSU overcame an early six-run deficit and took control of the game with a four-run eighth inning to hold off in-state foe Nicholls State, 12-8, in the Tigers’ first road game of the season Wednesday night at Ray Didier Field.
The Tigers (16-1) improved to 46-22 all-time against the Colonels. Nicholls State fell to 7-8 with the loss.
LSU will open Southeastern Conference play this weekend when No. 1 Florida travels to Baton Rouge. Game 1 will begin Friday at 6 p.m. CDT.
Live video, audio and stats of the contest may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live , and it can also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
In addition, the game will televised by both Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast.
Jimmy Dykstra (3-0) was credited with the victory as he allowed one run and two hits in the seventh inning, but the star of the game was right-hander Joe Broussard, who fired six stellar innings out of the bullpen.
After being pressed into duty during the Colonels’ six-run first inning, the freshman surrendered only one run on five hits and struck out seven to keep LSU in the ball game before the Tiger bats took over late.
“The story of the game was the performance of Joe Broussard,” head coach Paul Mainieri said. “We got off to a rough start tonight, and Tyler Jones just didn’t have it, but Joe came in and pitched amazingly well, and I thought he really inspired our lineup.
“In those later innings we had some tremendous at-bats in clutch situations, and we were able to come through in the end.”
Left fielder Trey Watkins and second baseman JaCoby Jones each collected three hits on the night, and third baseman Tyler Hanover batted 2-for-4 and drove in three runs to lead the Tigers at the plate. Watkins, designated hitter Raph Rhymes and center fielder Mikie Mahtook also contributed with two RBI apiece.
Nicholls State jumped on LSU early with a six-run first inning to go up, 6-0, highlighted by first baseman Blake Bergeron’s two-run triple. Left fielder Jeremy Hill, catcher Jason Dennis and third baseman Austin Flores also drove in runs during the frame.
The Tigers responded with three runs in the top of the third to cut the deficit to 6-3. Rhymes provided an RBI double to deep left center, and Hanover followed with a two-run single through the right side.
Rhymes delivered his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to center in the fifth to score catcher Ty Ross and reduce the Colonels’ lead to 6-4.
LSU took a 7-6 lead after a three-run sixth inning. Following an RBI single by right fielder Mason Katz, first baseman Alex Edward brought a run home on a deep double down the right field line. Watkins drove in the third run of the frame on an RBI single to center.
Nicholls State tied it back up at 7-7 in the sixth after pinch-hitter Mace Krol notched an RBI single to left.
However, Mahtook put the Tigers back up, 8-7, in the seventh with an RBI triple in the gap in right center.
The Colonels responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie it again at 8-8.
LSU took control of the game with a four-run eighth to seize a 12-8 advantage. Jones drove a run in on a triple down the left field line, and Watkins, Hanover and Mahtook each contributed RBI in the frame.
Right-hander Ryan Eades struck out the side in the eighth, and closer Matty Ott fired a scoreless ninth to close the game.
Nicholls State left-hander Brad Delatte (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up four earned runs off three hits and three walks in the Tigers’ big eighth inning.