Last Modified: Monday, April 08, 2013 9:54 AM
BATON ROUGE — It’s now official. This LSU baseball team is off to the best start in program history.
The second-ranked Tigers did it by leaving Kentucky in their dust Saturday night, making quick work of the Wildcats in a dominating 9-1 victory.
LSU starter Ryan Eades (7-0) held Kentucky to four hits over 82⁄3 innings — two in the first eight — and just about everybody in the Tigers’ order contributed to a 16-hit attack that included six doubles and a triple.
“The defense played great behind me and the offense is red hot right now,” Eades said.
“Ryan did another remarkable job,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I wouldn’t say he was overpowering with his fastball, but he threw an awful lot of strikes and competed hard with every pitch. Again, we had great at-bats and production from one through nine in our batting order, and I thought we ran the bases extremely well for the second night in a row.”
The Tigers (29-2, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched their fourth consecutive conference series and will go for their third straight sweep today.
The start betters the 1986 team, LSU’s first to reach the College World Series, which went 28-2 before losing its third game.
“It’s a cool thing to look at, really awesome to be a part of when you consider the storied teams that have come through here,” said senior star Mason Katz, whose 2-for-4 night included a two-run double when the Tigers broke out for four runs in the second inning. “It will be a cool thing to look at for about another two hours. Then we’ve get to get ready for tomorrow.”
After two dominating pitching performances to open the series, LSU’s Cody Glenn will get another shot after struggling in two of his three conference starts. But the Tigers have virtually their entire bullpen available after two routs.
“We’ll have a lot of options,” said Mainieri, who toyed with the idea of starting closer Chris Cotton after he wasn’t needed in the first two games. “I just want Glenn to get us off to a good start, hopefully give us a good 4-5 innings and we can turn it over to our bullpen. It’s well rested.”
Alex Bregman extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a 3-for-4 night that included a double and a pair of RBIs and Raph Rhymes also had a pair of hits.
That’s nothing new.
But every starter in the lineup had at least one hit and JaCoby Jones and Ty Ross continued to climb out of prolonged slumps with a pair of hits apiece.
“I was expecting that,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “You can’t keep good players down.”