Winds of change push LSU bats to Sunday barrage

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

BATON ROUGE — Maybe it’s true. Be you saint or sinner, the size of your batting average is going to depend on the weather.

It turned relatively balmy at Alex Box Stadium Sunday, mostly with a welcome wind shift, and LSU’s bats woke up and got hot

with a bang.

The Tigers pounded out 14 hits,

including the first two home runs of the season, and got another strong

group pitching performance

for a 14-3 victory over Maryland and a three-game sweep of a

season-opening series in which they never trailed.

“What’s not to like,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “Not only did we play well in all three phases, we won all three games.

I felt like we looked like a pretty good ball club this weekend.”

After two frigid games with the wind blowing straight in, maybe it just took something closer to “baseball weather” for the

bats to join in.

“Albert Pujols couldn’t have hit a home run out of Alex Box Stadium those first two games,” Mainieri said.

Second baseman JaCoby Jones and catcher

Ty Ross managed dingers to get LSU rolling early Sunday and the Tigers,

already coasting,

later added an eight-run seventh inning to remove all doubt.

“We showed everybody how good of an offense we can be today,” said Ross, whose three-run home run in the fourth inning broke

a 2-2 tie.

Jones started the onslaught with a solo shot in the second inning and later drove in a run with a single in the seventh.

LSU’s only error of the weekend — Jones lost a battle with wind at second base — led to one of the two runs Tiger starter

Brent Bonvillain allowed in his four innings on the mound.

Five different pitchers then made their LSU debuts with an inning apiece while holding Maryland to one more run over the final

five innings. Nate Fury (1-0) pitched the fifth and got the win.

“I thought they all did a good job,” Mainieri said. “I couldn’t be happier with all of them.”

But he was most pleased with the breakout game for the big bats after two shivering victories of scratching out runs by hook

and crook.

Freshman shortstop Alex Bregman continued his impressive debut weekend with a 3-for-3 game with three runs and an RBI. Another

freshman, third baseman Christian Ibarra, had two hits including a two-run double that highlighted the big seventh inning.

“I’ve been seeing this kind of hitting

throughout the preseason practice,” Mainieri said. “But the first two

games, the conditions

were just deplorable. That wind was gale-ing in from the north, it

was cold. It made it extremely difficult to hit.

“But today it was nice not to see that wind change. It was a combination of that plus a little less nerves, they settled into

the season. I thought we had some great at-bats played super defense and some young pitchers did remarkably well.

“I thought it was more that we played well than they (Maryland) played poorly. They’ve got some good arms.”