It's no longer 2012 and LSU showed that as the Tigers crushed Stony Brook 17-3 in game two of the Baton Rouge Regional.
This is the Tigers' 30th straight win in a regional opener, good for the longest streak in NCAA tournament history. The 17 run is also the most scored by LSU in an NCAA tournament game since beating UC-Irving 21-7 in the 2008 Baton Rouge Super Regional, the final game in the old Alex Box Stadium.
It was a slaughter from start to finish as LSU put up a five-run first inning. Freshman pitcher Landon Marceaux allowed one unearned run in the top of the first, but the offense quickly made up for it.
With the game tied at one, sophomore catcher Saul Garza continued his tear at the plate and hit a three-RBI double down the right field line. Garza is on a nine-game hit streak and has hit for a .529 average in those games.
Garza scored on a single by senior second baseman Brandt Broussard to give LSU a 5-1 lead heading into the second inning. The LSU bats continued to pound Stony Brook's pitching staff, and junior center fielder Zach Watson capped off a four-run inning with a two-run home run, extending LSU's lead to 9-1.
After a two-run third inning, which saw senior right fielder Antoine Duplantis tie Eddy Furniss' all-time LSU hit record, Broussard hit a three-run home run, the first home run of his career.
Broussard finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and the home run was only the fourth he has hit in his entire life – whether it was live pitching or batting practice. Brossard said he hit two in junior college at Delgado Community College in New Orleans and two during summer ball this past year.
“It was just a change-up the guy left up, and I was just a little out in front of it and got it elevated,” Broussard said. “I guess there was a little breeze that must’ve been out to left.
“The guys were messing with me yesterday that I was going to be one of the only players to play here that didn’t hit a home run.”
The Tigers added another three runs in the fifth, and with a 17-2 lead in hand, LSU coach Paul Mainieri made the decision to remove Marceaux after 53 pitches. Marceaux finished with two runs, one earned, on seven hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts.
Mainieri thought about pulling Marceaux after the fourth inning but wanted the freshman to earn the win, so he went back out for the fifth. With the limited work on Friday, Mainieri said there is a chance Marceaux may be used again this weekend or possibly Monday if necessary.
He was replaced by sophomore Ma'Khail Hilliard, who was followed up by sophomore Trent Vietmeier and freshman Chase Costello. The three gave up one run on one hit, a solo home run off Hilliard in sixth inning, and walked zero batters over the last four innings.
With the win, LSU plays Southern Miss at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Southern Miss defeated Arizona State 15-3 in the early game on Friday.
“They really stood out to me as far as how tough their at-bats were,” Mainieri said. “I know they had the big inning, but really throughout the game they were tough, gritty hitters.”
The task to slow down Southern Miss’ offense will go to freshman Cole Henry. Henry missed over a month late in the season dealing with elbow soreness and made his return in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The 6-foot-4, hard-throwing righty pitched 1.2 innings, allowing five hits, five runs (four earned) and had three strikeouts with no walks on 42 pitches.