Jared Jones’ huge night ties LSU home run record, helps Tigers to blowout win over McNeese

Jared Jones blasted three homers on the night as LSU took down McNeese in seven innings. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU (22-12) baseball gave fans a glimpse of the team they expected to see before the season started tonight against McNeese (16-15).

The Tigers roared out to a big lead early and only kept adding to it in a 16-0 win in seven innings.

“It was a good win,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “McNeese has played well this year, and they’ve played Arkansas and Texas A&M, two of the best teams in the country, in three-game series. Tonight was a good night for us; I’m happy for our players.

Johnson made some changes to the starting lineup to try to help LSU find a way out of its slump, and perhaps none were more successful than the change at the leadoff spot. Jared Jones batted leadoff for the Tigers for the first time this season and didn’t waste any time getting on the board.

“I think having Jared in the lead-off spot puts on ton of pressure on the pitcher from the first pitch of the game, and it was a really good performance by Jared tonight,” Johnson said.

Jones hit a homer to left field in the bottom of the first inning on what would go on to be a five-run inning for LSU. Paxton Kling had an RBI single that scored Tommy White before Steven Milam hit a bases-clearing triple that score three runs.

“My goal was just to get to first base and I was lucky enough to git a ball in play,” Jones said.

Jones kept things going in the second inning with a leadoff double. Mac Bingham laid down a bunt that scored Jones from third and Ashton Larson from second to bring the score to 7-0 before the Cowboys even had a hit.

Jones came up to bat again in the third inning with a runner on base and belted another homer to bring in two more runs for the Tigers. Sam Dutton came in to pitch for Kade Anderson in the top of the fourth inning with LSU sporting a 9-0 lead. Anderson allowed just one hit on the night in three innings pitched.

“Getting Kade set up with some time off last week was important, and it was really good to see his performance tonight,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, he can blueprint that this weekend if we need to go to him.”

LSU didn’t score in an inning for the first time of the game when Jones’ hit streak came to an end to strand three runners on base in the bottom of the fourth. The Tigers would add to their lead again in the fifth inning though.

White walked to put a runner on base before Jake Brown hit his first homer of the season to bring the lead to 11-0. Ben Nippolt was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score a runner before a wild pitch scored another.

Jared Jones stepped up to bat with two runners on base and made up for his strikeout in the previous inning with a three-RBI homer. It was his third homer of the night which tied the LSU record for home runs in a single game. He finished the night with six RBI.

Leon Landry was the last Tiger to hit three home runs in one night. Landry accomplished the feat in 2009 against Mississippi State in a 15-4 win at Dudy Field.

Cam Johnson came in to pitch for Dutton in the top of the sixth and got two outs before being replaced by Kade Woods. Aiden Moffett came in the seventh inning and forced a three up, three down inning to end the game 16-0.

Freshman shortstop Ryan Kucherak got his first start of the season after Michael Braswell III struggled with errors throughout the season. Kucherak had a quiet night at the plate with just a walk in three at bats, but made it through the game errorless.

LSU’s pitching staff held McNeese to just one hit on the night and walked just two batters. The Tigers also had no errors on the night. They finished the game with 10 hits and four homers.

“This was our best game, probably of the year,” Johnson said. “It was a good game. We did everything well.”

LSU will head on the road to take on No. 4 Tennessee next. Game one will start Friday at 6:30 p.m. as the Tigers hunt for their first SEC series win after dropping their first four series.

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Will Nickel

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