The Tigers (14-2) defeated Purdue 7-3 in their series finale, completing the sweep and sending LSU into a welcome off day with a five-game winning streak.
Paul Mainieri. "Everybody made a big deal about it, worried about it. I was looking forward to it, because the game of baseball is the type of sport you have to play a lot. I felt what would happen is exactly what happened."
LSU totaled 12 hits Sunday, with seven of the nine players in the starting lineup recording at least one. Conner Hale and Andrew Stevenson each drove in a pair of runs, and the LSU bullpen combined to surrender just one run on three hits in five innings of work.
"It was a great weekend for us," said Alex Bregman, who had two hits Sunday to bump his average up to .429. "It was our first sweep of the season, and we needed to do that. We came out today with a lot of energy, and we just swung the bats a lot better than we have been."
The Tiger offense got off to a hot start, scoring a pair in the first inning. LSU strung together four consecutive singles, including two on bunts from Mark Laird and Alex Bregman, to bring in the first run. Stevenson added another on a sacrifice fly to left field.
"We wanted to come out quick and get the other team down on themselves," said Laird, who turned in his second three-hit game of the season. "That's what we've been trying to do lately is to get on them early because we have the pitching to keep them down."
Purdue would bounce back though, tying it in the next half inning. LSU starter Cody Glenn surrendered a leadoff single, then after a fielder's choice, Boilermaker 1B Conner Hudnall laced the first pitch he saw into the right field bleachers for a two-run home run.
"I felt pretty good off the get-go," Glenn said. "I had confidence in all my pitches…[The home run] was a four-seam fastball that was supposed to be outside but I left it right over the middle."
Glenn dialed back in and struck out the next two batters he faced to limit the damage. But it was a short outing for the junior right-hander as he lasted just four innings. He allowed the two runs on four hits and struck out a pair.
This marked Glenn's final audition for a place in the weekend rotation, as Mainieri said after the game he'll make a final decision Monday between either Glenn or Kyle Bouman for the Saturday spot.
LSU regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Stevenson got it started with a leadoff walk, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Chris Chinea, who came into the game hitting just .167, brought him home with a double to right-center field.
The offensive success continued in the next frame as LSU opened it up with a three-run inning. It started with consecutive base hits by Laird and Bregman and some aggressive base running pushed them into scoring position. Hale drove in his second run with a grounder to short. Kade Scivicque followed that with a RBI-single. Stevenson plated one more with a triple to right-center field, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
"He's completely been a sparkplug for us," Bregman said. "He starts innings and he also finishes them. He brings so much to our team, and he's a real big leader out there."
LSU would add one more unearned run in the eighth inning, but the Tiger pitchers already had enough cushion.
Alden Cartwright replaced Glenn in the top of the fifth, and worked 1 2/3 perfect innings before giving way to Zac Person with two outs in the sixth. The only LSU reliever to surrender a run was Nate Fury, who allowed one on one hit in the seventh.
Overall, it was a welcome positive for the LSU bullpen after they surrendered four runs in a loss last Sunday to Yale.
"I wouldn't say we were frustrated, but we knew we needed to do work," Cartwright said. "As you can see, we did the work and we're now very effective."
LSU will return to action Tuesday against Nicholls State with another midweek tilt Wednesday against Southern. That will send the Tigers into conference play with a road series against Vanderbilt set for next weekend.
Brady Domangue will start against Nicholls, and Jared Poche, who will also pitch Sunday against the Commodores, will have a short start on Wednesday.
The Tigers will be without Christian Ibarra for the two midweek contests, as he tweaked his hamstring in Saturday's win. Danny Zardon started in his place Sunday, and Kramer Robertson is also a candidate to see added playing time in Ibarra's stead.