LSU's Alex Bregman, left, Sean McMullen and Mason Katz wait for their turn at-bat during NCAA college baseball practice at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., last year. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Monday, April 07, 2014 1:06 PMBATON ROUGE — There was a strong threat of mops most of the day, but LSU stuck with the brooms anyway.
The Tigers also got a big assist from some suddenly potent bats.
LSU teed off for 20 hits, including two home runs, and routed Mississippi State 17-4 to complete a weekend sweep of the SEC series.
“It was nice to put some crooked numbers up there finally,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “That was a lot of fun. I thought we just finished the weekend in grand fashion.”
All but one of the 17 runs came in the first six innings, capped by Kade Scivicque’s line-drive grand slam to highlight the 6-run sixth that put the Tigers up 16-2. Christian Ibarra also had a solo home run in the inning.
So the final five innings were played in a steady mist that begged for the SEC to adopt a 10-run mercy rule.
But no Tiger complained about the weather as every starter had a hit and all but one had an RBI.
It was LSU’s most runs in an SEC game since last May when the Tigers beat Florida 18-6 and the most hits against anybody in exactly four years — they also had 20 against Alcorn State on the same date in 2010.
The sweep moved LSU (24-8-1, 6-5-1 SEC) from seventh to third in the SEC West standings, just ahead of Mississippi State (21-12, 6-6).
“It was a great weekend for us and we really needed it,” Mainieri said of the bounce back from being swept at Florida last weekend. “Each of the three games was different in its own way.”
This was certainly an oddity — LSU has struggled for hits and especially runs most of the season.
LSU had to win tight pitchers’ duels in the first two games of the series.
But Mainieri wasn’t shocked by Sunday’s uprising.
“I thought we did some really good offensive things (in the first two games), had some good at-bats against some really good pitchers,” he said. “Today we just put it all together, took advantage of most of the opportunities we had.”
Not quite all.
Mainieri, in fact, was worried after some base-running blunders that limited the Tigers to a pair runs in each of the first two innings for a 4-0 lead
“But, boy, oh boy, did we come out after that,” Mainieri said after the Tigers added three runs in both the third and fifth before really unloading in the sixth.
The Tigers also got an encouraging outing from Kyle Bouman, who pitched 3 1/3 innings in his first start since spraining an ankle four weeks ago.
But just about anybody could have pitched this one.
Scivicque, the last Tiger starter to get a hit, ended up 3-for-5 with the four RBIs.
Ibarra, who went 3-for-3, and Andrew Stevenson (2-for-4) each scored four times.
Mark Laird went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Sean McMullen went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and a pair of runs while Alex Bregman had two RBIs.
Mississippi State scored single runs in the fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth innings.
“Our pitching was outstanding all weekend,” Mainieri said. “They got some meaningless runs late in the game.”
Bouman held the Bulldogs scoreless for three innings — which was all he was supposed to pitch in his first start back.
“But he was doing so well, I said let’s see if we can get another inning out of him,” Mainieri said.
Bouman was lifted after giving up a one-out double in the fourth that cut the lead to 7-1.
“I probably shouldn’t have sent him back out there,” Mainieri said.
It was about he only regret he had.
Mainieri has not lost a series to Mississippi State in his eight years at LSU, but it was the Tigers’ first sweep of the Bulldogs since 2008 (in the final regular season series at the old Alex Box Stadium).
“I thought it was important that we win this series,” Mainieri said. “After we won the first two games, I thought it was really important that we get the sweep.”