The Tigers improved to 7-2 with the victory, while McNeese dropped to 2-6. LSU opens a three-game series with Dartmouth at 7 p.m. Friday in Alex Box Stadium. Sophomore right-hander Kevin Gausman will start the game on the mound for the Tigers.
Katz, who has reached base in 12 consecutive plate appearances, produced a three-run homer and a double to pace the Tigers’ 16-hit attack.
Third baseman Tyler Hanover added three hits, including two doubles, and drove in four runs for the Tigers, while rightfielder Raph Rhymes was 2-for-2 with two RBI and former Morgan City High School standout Grant Dozar finished 1-for-1 with two RBI, a run and a walk.
“Obviously, I like the way we’re swinging the bats right now,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said in a university release. “Mason Katz is on fire right now, and we’re getting good at-bats throughout the lineup.”
Freshman right-hander Aaron Nola (1-0) earned the win in his first collegiate start, working five innings and limiting the Cowboys to three runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
“I was very proud of the way Aaron pitched tonight in a new environment,” Mainieri said. “He showed a lot of poise and gave us the outing we needed to win this game.”
McNeese State starter Caleb Miller (1-2), the first of eight Cowboy pitchers, was charged with the loss as he allowed nine runs on eight hits in six and one-third innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
LSU grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Rhymes delivered an RBI single and shortstop Austin Nola produced a run-scoring groundout.
The Tigers expanded the lead to 5-0 in the second when Katz launched a three-run homer, his first dinger of the year.
McNeese State struck for three runs in the fifth against Nola as centerfielder Andrew Guillotte ripped a two-run double and catcher Renny Weber added an RBI groundout.
The Cowboys added a run in the sixth to narrow the deficit to 5-4 before LSU exploded for five runs in the seventh to take control of the game. Hanover’s two-RBI double highlighted the rally, which gave the Tigers a comfortable 10-4 lead.
LSU added eight runs in the ninth inning against five different McNeese pitchers. Hanover and pinch hitter Evan Powell each ripped two-run doubles to pace the uprising.
Leading a 15-hit McNeese offensive attack were Taylor Drake with four hits and four RBIs, Guillotte with three hits and four RBIs and Collin Todd with three hits.
McNeese will be back in action beginning Friday when the Cowboys host Southeastern Louisiana and Central Michigan in a round-robin at Cowboy Diamond.