Tigers rally to defeat Tulane, 7-5
NEW ORLEANS, La (NBC33) — Sophomore right-hander Kevin Berry fired 2.2 scoreless relief innings Tuesday night and second baseman JaCoby Jones delivered the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth to lead No. 15 LSU to a 7-5 win over Tulane at Turchin Stadium.
The Tigers (21-8) return to action this weekend with a three-game SEC series at Arkansas. Game 1 of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. CT from Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
Tulane dropped to 18-11 with its sixth straight loss. The Wave plays at Central Florida this weekend in a Conference USA series.
LSU, which held an early 3-0 lead, rebounded from a 5-4 deficit with a run in the seventh and two runs in the eighth to secure the victory.
“This is a tough place to play, and I’m proud of our kids for fighting back after Tulane took the lead,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I thought we showed a lot of determination and displayed great poise both at the plate and on the mound.
“Kevin Berry has been tremendous for us all season, and he was outstanding again tonight. We played great defense behind him, and the double play we turned in the seventh was obviously a huge play in the game.”
Berry (2-0) entered the game in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied 5-5 and runners on first and third with one out. Berry forced Tulane catcher Jeremy Schaffer to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Tigers regained the lead in the top of the eighth against Tulane reliever Alex Facundus (5-1). With one out, designated hitter Raph Rhymes and third baseman Tyler Hanover lined back-to-back singles before Rhymes scored on a single up the middle by Jones. Hanover later scored in the inning on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Austin Nola.
Berry retired the Wave in order in the eighth, and after allowing a lead-off walk in the ninth, he induced a pop-out and a double play grounder to end the game.
Berry worked 2.2 innings, allowing no runs and no hits with one walk and one strikeout. Facundus was charged with the loss as he surrendered two runs on three hits in 2.2 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
“Our team plays with a lot of confidence, and though we went through a rough stretch, our players never doubt their ability to win,” Mainieri said. “That’s an asset that will benefit us through the rest of this season.”
LSU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when designated hitter Rhymes led the game off with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Nola.
The Tigers extended the lead to 3-0 in the third as rightfielder Mason Katz lined an RBI double and leftfielder Alex Edward ripped a run-scoring triple.
Tulane struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the third as centerfielder Nick Boullosa and Schaffer delivered RBI singles.
LSU added a run in the fourth when centerfielder Mikie Mahtook delivered an RBI on a fielder’s choice groundout.
The Wave tied the game in the fourth when first baseman Matt Ryan bounced a two-RBI single into centerfield, and Tulane took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on rightfielder Blake Crohan’s run-scoring grounder.
LSU came back to tie the game in the seventh when Katz squeezed home a run from third base with a bunt.