Last Modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 1:15 PM
BATON ROUGE — Maybe greed really is good.
LSU completed its final weekend shakedown on Sunday before SEC play begins with a three-game sweep of Washington for its 10th straight victory, but the 7-5 final left head coach Paul Mainieri wishing for more.
“Hard-fought win, quite frankly,” Mainieri said. “I really thought we might be clicking on all cylinders today and have a big blowout victory when I saw that flag blowing straight out to leftfield.”
This in a game where the Tigers trailed only until their next at-bat, hit two home runs, got more solid pitching and played error-free on a tough wind day with at least five defensive highlights in the mix.
Mainieri wasn’t complaining too loudly.
LSU starter Cody Glenn (3-0) pitched through his first real trouble of the season, Mason Katz hit his third home run in the last two games, two freshmen combined to go 6-for-9 and the back of the Tigers’ bullpen — Joey Bourgeois and Chris Cotton — shut down the Huskies over the final two innings.
It left the Tigers 15-1 with only a Wednesday game against Nicholls State before opening the SEC at Mississippi State this weekend.
“I guess we just had a awful lot of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” Mainieri said, adding that a lot of innings could have been bigger.
“We had the right guys up, had our chances, but never had that dagger to put the other team away. We let them hang around, hang around, hang around ...
“That can be dangerous with that wind blowing out. A bad break here, a big hit ...”
The Tigers did trail for the first time all weekend when Washington (4-11), after threatening in the first before a double-play saved Glenn, took a 2-0 lead in the second on two singles, a run-scoring wild pitch and a RBI ground out.
It didn’t last long.
Raph Rhymes walked to open the bottom of the second and Katz followed with a towering shot well over the leftfield bleachers.
“I was just trying to get it up and let the wind help me,” Katz said of his fifth home run of the season. “Good short swing. You didn’t have to hit it hard today.”
Two outs later, Ty Ross put LSU up for good, 3-2, with his second home run of the season.
“I got the home run, but I had a lot of at-bats I’d like back,” Katz said, no doubt remembering his strike out the following inning with runners at the corner and only one out.
The Tigers settled for a lone run that inning and a 4-0 lead.
Rightfielder Mark Laird went 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI and fellow freshman shortstop Alex Bregman was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the third and an RBI triple in the fifth, which scored Laird. Bregman actually scored on the play when the throw to third was wild.
Bregman and second baseman JaCoby Jones also had outstanding inning-ending catches, Bregman sprinting into centerfield and Jones leaping and stretching high for a hot line dive.
“I wouldn’t have jumped for the one JaCoby caught,” said Katz, who also had snagged a hot shot to his left. “I’m too short.”
Sciambra, playing leftfield instead of his normal spot in right, also made a diving, inning-ending catch and was just as impressive to hold Washington to a single on a ball that hit off the leftfield wall.
Glenn, who won the No. 3 spot in the rotation with two scoreless starts, wasn’t nearly as dominant as his first two performances. But he pitched out of trouble again and again to get through his 5 2/3 innings on just two runs despite seven hits.
The conditions weren’t ideal for Glenn, who’s not a power pitcher and depends on letting his defense play behind him.
“He had to keep the ball down today and lot of them — I don’t want to say cheap hits — but every ball hit on the ground seemed to find a hole,” Mainieri said.
“I thought he pitched really well. He didn’t get frustrated.”
Reliever Nick Rumbelow gave up two runs in the seventh and the Huskies chipped Hunter Newman for one in the eighth to pull within 7-5 before Bourgeois and Cotton shut them down.