Last Modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:22 PM
BATON ROUGE — A competitive showing against the nation’s third-ranked team is nice, but what McNeese State really needs right now is to string together a couple of wins.
LSU beat the Cowboys for the ninth consecutive time dating to 2000, winning 7-3 at Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday night. LSU has won 26 in a row against in-state opponents.
The Tigers (40-6) batted around for a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to break open a competitive game.
LSU beat up McNeese relief pitcher Steven O’Bryant, who couldn’t get an out in his second inning out of the bullpen. All four of LSU’s runs in the sixth were credited to O’Bryant, who allowed the first two runs before getting pulled with the bases loaded and no outs.
O’Bryant got McNeese out of a jam in the fifth, allowing only an inherited runner to score from third on a sacrifice fly in relief of starter Trey McGee.
McGee (2-5) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on nine hits in four-plus innings.
“He wasn’t able to throw anything off-speed over the plate,” Burrows said. “That kind of eliminates a thing and makes him one-dimensional.”
For LSU, the win helped erase some of the bad taste from last weekend’s series loss against South Carolina, the first the Tigers have dropped all year. The Tigers have a short turnaround with a three-game set against SEC rival Florida starting on Thursday.
“The kids came out focused tonight and ready to play, and I think that was demonstrated in the way they performed,” said Tigers coach Paul Mainieri. “I congratulated them after the game on earning their 40th win of the season. Anytime you can get 40 wins before you have 10 losses, you’re having a pretty significant season.”
For McNeese, a trip to the nation’s No. 3 team came at a tough time on the schedule. The Cowboys (20-22) have lost 12 of their last 14, and the Tigers weren’t quite what the doctor ordered.
“They just run quality arms one right after the other out of the bullpen,” Burrows said. “You can’t make any mistakes if you’re going to beat this team.”
Despite the tall task, the Cowboys were not without their chances.
McNeese finished three innings with a man on third base and stranded a total of four in scoring position.
There were several “what-if” moments.
Sam Peterson hit what would have been a run-scoring double in second if not for the double play that preceded it.
Peterson advanced to third in the fifth, but was left there as Tyler Klouser and Cameron Toole struck out looking to end the inning.
Klouser was stranded at third in the third inning when Chayse Marion flew out to center for the third out.
McNeese did not score until a pair of seventh-inning errors by LSU’s infield backups allowed two runs to cross the plate, cutting the deficit to 7-2.
But once again, the Cowboys left something on the table as Nick Rumbelow struck out Toole and Andrew Guillotte to end the inning with runners at the corners.
“You’ve just got to do your job and have good at-bats,” Burrows said of the one-out strikeouts with men at third. “That’s the difference in a couple runs right there, if we just put a bat on the ball.”
The story wasn’t all sour for McNeese.
Peterson put on an offensive show for McNeese, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer in the ninth. He finished a triple short of the cycle in his return to Alex Box, where he played for LSU as a freshman before transferring.
“It felt a little bit (strange), but it’s just another baseball game,” Peterson said. “The bases are still 90 feet. We’re trying to win, man, and I’m just trying to compete for our team.”
Barbe grad Jared Foster was 1-for-2 for LSU.
St. Louis grad Billy Sommers, a McNeese freshman, rapped out a pinch-hit single in his first career at-bat in the ninth.