Morgan hits for cycle in No. 1 LSU’s 18-4 win over Southern

Tigers reverse 4-0 deficit with 18 unanswered runs

Tre Morgan hits for the natural order cycle to lead No. 1 LSU to its fourth consecutive win to open the season, 18-4, over Southern. Photo by Jonathan Mailhes

LSU first baseman Tre’ Morgan hit for the cycle Tuesday afternoon to propel the top-ranked Tigers to an 18-4 run-rule victory in seven innings over Southern at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

The Tigers (4-0) head to the Round Rock Classic this weekend to take on three different teams at Dell Diamond.

LSU starts the weekend facing Kansas State at 2 p.m. Friday, followed by Iowa Saturday at noon and Sam Houston State at 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

The Round Rock Classic can be streamed on via a pay-per-view subscription service.

Morgan posted a 4-for-5 performance, collecting a single in the second, a double in the third, a triple in the fifth. He put an exclamation point on the outing with a dinger to right field in the sixth, officially completing the natural cycle.

The last LSU player to hit for the cycle was Mikie Mahtook, who did so on April 6, 2010, when the Tigers faced Alcorn State in Alex Box Stadium.

“A cycle and eight RBI, that’s a pretty nice day,” said LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson about Morgan’s effort. “Tre’ hit into a lot of tough luck over the weekend (vs. Western Michigan), but the numbers didn’t reflect the quality of his plate appearances. The numbers from the weekend didn’t tell the whole story, but the numbers certainly did tell the story today.”

LSU right-hander Christian Little (1-0) picked up the win, entering the game in the third inning and firing 3.2 innings with six strikeouts. He threw 43 pitches while allowing just one hit and one walk. He fanned six of the 12 batters he faced.

“Christian entered the game and provided that ‘magic moment’ we needed to win,” Johnson said. “He’s a gamer, a guy who loves to compete, and he can cause a lot of problems for hitters with his ability to throw four pitches for strikes.”

Southern starter Antoine Harris (0-1) was charged with the loss. He surrendered five runs on five hits in three innings with four walks and no strikeouts.

LSU starter Thatcher Hurd escaped trouble in the top of the first after allowing two Southern hitters to reach base on consecutive walks. Hurd picked the first two strikeouts of his LSU career against the following two batters.

Southern (3-1) broke open the scoring in the top of the second after LSU went scoreless in the home half of the first. The Jags scored on a sequence that began with a walk, stolen base, and concluded with an RBI single.

Southern led 1-0 after two innings. The Jags extended their lead to 3-0 in the top half of the third with four consecutive singles from the middle of their lineup. Left fielder JJ Rollon poked a single through the right side for a 4-0 lead.

Little limited the damage in relief of Hurd, picking up a strikeout and inducing a pop-up and groundout.

The Tigers responded with three extra-base hits in the bottom of the third. Center fielder Dylan Crews was hit by a pitch and right fielder Brayden Jobert walked with second baseman Gavin Dugas heading to the plate.

Dugas hit a blooper down the right-field line, which scored Crews. Morgan followed suit with a similar hit down the left field line, scoring Jobert and Dugas.

LSU’s freshman designated hitter Jared Jones drove in Morgan with a towering 467-foot home run to left field – the first of his LSU career – for a 5-4 lead.

LSU increased the lead to 8-4 after Jobert launched his first homer of the season – a three-run, opposite-field dinger – after two free passes to left fielder Josh Pearson and Crews.

In the bottom of the fifth and sixth, LSU added a total of 10 runs to account for the final margin. Relievers Little, Griffin Herring and Garrett Edwards blanked the Jaguars over the final four innings.

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