LSU lost its first game of the 2013 season to BYU with a 9-4 defeat Saturday. The pitchers struggled…
Katz, Rhymes lead No. 9 LSU past Southeastern
The Tigers' offense came alive, with two of its most dependable batters leading the charge. Raph Rhymes — who entered Sunday with only one RBI — and Mason Katz, who held a .217 batting average before the game, combined to go 7-for-9 and accounted for 11 of LSU's 13 RBI.
All four of Rhymes' hits came with two outs, and Katz had a career-high six RBI, including a three-run home run in the first inning.
"After last night's game, it was time [Katz and I] stepped up," Rhymes said. "BYU outplayed us last night, so we took it upon ourselves to turn it on, and today we had a pretty good day."
The game, which was rained out Friday, resumed with two outs in the bottom of the first, and runners on the corners for Katz. Facing a 1-1 count, Katz saw a ball before blasting it deep to LF to give LSU an early 3-0 lead.
"Katz was saying he was going to do it, and I had a feeling that when he went up there, he was going to do something special," Rhymes said. "It's huge for a veteran guy to come out there and do something like that. It gets the whole team fired up."
The rest of the offense followed suit as the next three batters got hits, including an RBI-single by Alex Edward to make it 4-0 after one inning.
LSU never let up offensively, plating multiple runs in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
"The biggest thing about today was the way Katz and Rhymes broke out," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "That's why our offense was a bit stagnant, because those guys just weren't doing it yet. But I had zero doubt they would come through, and they both obviously had big days today."
Meanwhile, Ryan Eades picked up where he left off after dazzling most who saw him pitch Friday. Starting in the second inning, Eades retired the first eight batters he faced and didn't allow a run until the sixth.
Eades did escape a couple of jams, stranding four runners in scoring position. Southeastern had the bases loaded in the fifth with two outs, but Eades got SLU RF Harry Slade to dribble one in front of the plate, which turned into an easy inning-ending out.
"I just tried to stay focused and stay sharp," Eades said of having to return to a game two days after starting it. "I just had to make them swing the bats and let the defense play behind me."
Eades finished with five strikeouts on seven hits, with one earned run in six innings of work. Eades gave way to four pitchers who combined to get the final 12 outs for LSU.
"I knew that was going to be a big part of today, if we could jump on them early and deflate them," Eades said. "They were a pretty rowdy team, and you never know what could happen if you let a team like that stay in the ballgame."
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