In its eleventh year, the Wally Pontiff Jr. Baseball Foundation Classic continues to make a difference.
"I'm glad we do this game, because it just gives us a chance to remember Wally and keep his memory alive," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "And set an example to our current players, what a real student-athlete is all about. And the way you're supposed to live your life, because nothing is guaranteed for any of us. You might as well do it the right way while you're here."
Most of the current LSU players never met Wally Jr., who passed away in his sleep in 2002 due to a heart abnormality. Pontiff Jr., a New Orleans native who prepped at Jesuit, was known for his leadership and competitive fire.
"This game is special," LSU shortstop Alex Bregman said. "Wally was a great Tiger, and a role model that we like to look up to at LSU, and anytime we can get a win on his day, it's huge."
Tiger senior and former Brother Martin and Delgado standout Sean McMullen added, "Wally was a great player here. He was a legend, and I'm just honored to wear this uniform and play in this game."
LSU defeated Southern Miss 13-5, producing 15 hits in one of the Tigers' better offensive nights of the season.
"It was a good win for us, good way to start the road trip," Mainieri said. "We had some big nights from some guys, some really clutch hitting."
Centerfielder Andrew Stevenson was a perfect 4-4 at the plate, while Bregman continued to work his way back to form, producing two hits and two RBI.
"I thought we came with a lot of energy, I thought we put together a lot of great at bats tonight," Bregman said. "And we're gonna build off that this weekend, and we can't wait to get to Oxford."