Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:00 PM
BATON ROUGE — For the first six innings Saturday, the LSU line on the Alex Box Stadium scoreboard malfunctioned with nothing but blanks.
That was a technical problem.
The Tigers’ offense wasn’t much flashier.
But when the scoreboard line flickered briefly to light in the seventh, so did LSU to push across four runs in the inning and went on to beat Maryland 5-1 and clinch the season-opening series.
“For a while I didn’t know if we were ever going to score,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said after the two teams again battled chilly weather and monster headwind at the plate.
“We won,” said LSU first baseman Mazon Katz. “Not the greatest day at the plate. But we found a way to win manufacture some runs.”
It wasn’t exactly a barrage of fireworks to support another impressive LSU pitching performance, this time from Ryan Eades.
But after back-to-back one-out walks, pinch-hitter Alex Edward broke a scoreless tie with a poked RBI single to right and Ty Ross followed with a perfectly placed bunt single to score another run.
Christian Ibarra added a polite ground ball to right to score pinch-runner Jared Foster and Ross later scored on a passed ball to complete the big inning.
“What a great at-bat,” Mainieri said of Edward, who fouled off a two-strike pitch before slapping the go-ahead single. “We sent the runners. That’s the faith we had in him.”
LSU’s Sean McMullen added a pinch-hit single in his first career at-bat in the eighth to complete the scoring.
LSU pitching opened the season with 16 scoreless innings before Maryland finally got to reliever Chris Cotton in the eighth for a run.
Eades pitched into the seventh before leaving with one out after giving up six hits while striking out sixth with one walk.
Kevin Berry (1-0) got the final two outs in the top of the seventh and the win when the Tigers broke through in the bottom of the inning.
LSU (2-0) also played error-free for the second consecutive game, including a trio of spectacular catches by speedy freshman right fielder Mark Laird.
“One of those was a game-saver at the time,” Mainieri said of Laird’s catch as he hit the right-field fence for the final out of the fifth with two Maryland runners on.
The two teams will wrap up the season-opening series at noon today with Brent Bonvillain pitching for the Tigers.
He’s got a hard act to top after Eades followed Aaron Nola’s opening-night dominance with a similar outing.
“That’s a tough combo for anybody to handle,” Katz said.
“I thought he was really good,” Mainieri said of Eades. “He was really throwing hard and with that velocity, when he keeps it down, he tough.”