By Tiger Rag News Service
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The number five was fortuitous for LSU Sunday.
The first five Bayou Bengal batters reached base safely, helping them score five runs in the top of the first inning vs. Missouri in the finale of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series.
LSU added five in the seventh to put an exclamation point on its 15-2 victory, completing a sweep for the visitors.
The Bayou Bengals (25-11 overall, 9-6 SEC) swept their first Southeastern Conference series of 2016, and won its third consecutive SEC series.
Missouri (20-18, 4-11) is 0-11 all-time vs. LSU, 0-6 at Columbia and 0-5 at Baton Rouge.
LSU (No. 9 Baseball America, No. 11 D1 Baseball, No. 12 USA Today) returns to Alex Box Stadium Wednesday for a challenging midweek matchup with Southeastern Louisiana at 6:30 p.m. The battle with the Lions precedes a three-game SEC series vs. Mississippi State in Baton Rouge beginning Friday.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our guys competed all weekend,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We beat two of the best pitchers in our league in the first two games, and today we took a very aggressive approach and got the early lead. Our dugout was full of energy throughout the weekend, and in translated onto the field.”
The visitors pounded six Missouri pitchers for a season-high 20 hits. The previous standard of 17 was achieved last Wednesday vs. Grambling.
The 20 hits are the most in a conference game since last March 21, when LSU collected 21 in a 16-3 win over Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Jordan Romero became the third LSU player to collect four in a game this season. Antoine Duplantis, Jake Fraley and Chris Reid had three hits apiece.
LSU’s other four-hit games this season were by Duplantis vs. Sacramento State Feb. 27 and Beau Jordan vs. Fordham March 5.
Duplantis and Fraley led off the game with back-to-back singles. Romero followed with a ground-ball single to plate Duplantis. An errant throw by left fielder Trey Harris moved Fraley to third and Romero to second.
Another error, this one by third baseman Brian Sharp attempting to field Greg Deichmann’s slow roller, left runners on the corners after Fraley scored.
Kramer Robertson made it 3-0 with his double to right. Missouri starter Michael Plassmeyer (3-3) got the game’s first out when he retired Beau Jordan on a grounder to first.
Bryce Jordan’s ground ball scored Deichmann, and Chris Reid singled home Robertson for the inning’s final run.
Harris singled to lead off the Missouri second. He moved to third on a single by Brett Bond and scored on Sharp’s ground ball, but it came at the expense of a double play.
Missouri’s other run came on Bond’s leadoff home run in the fifth.
Bryce Jordan doubled home two runs in the top of the fifth.
Romero led off the seventh with a home run to left center against reliever Cole Bartlett, who was taken out and replaced by Austin Tribby.
Tribby yielded a homer to Deichmann, retired the next two batters, but then gave up another long ball, as Bryce Jordan left the park for the second time in the series.
Reid’s single drove Tribby from the game. Grant Macciocchi appeared to get Missouri out of the inning by inducing a ground ball from Cole Freeman, but it was misplayed by Sharp, the last of Missouri’s five errors.
Duplantis and Fraley took advantage of the miscue, driving home runs with a single and a double, respectively.
LSU tacked on three runs in the eighth and finished
John Valek III (6-1) started on the mound for LSU, striking out five and walking none over six innings.
Wednesday’s LSU-SLU game will be streamed over the SEC Network Plus, accessible via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app. It will also be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL-98.1 FM in Baton Rouge).