A great debut for Alex Lange almost turned sour when Kansas decided they wouldn't back down from a fight. The freshman righty impressed in his first outing for LSU, going 5 complete with 7Ks, 2 hits, and 1 walk in 71 pitches. His outing may have gone longer if not for a monster 5th inning for the LSU offense. KU pitcher Ben Krauth came in with a very impressive JUCO stat line form last year and early on it looked like he might keep pace, but things started to come apart for him in his second pass through the lineup. LSU notched a couple base hits for a run in the 4th, then turned on the gas in the fifth for 7 runs on 7 hits, a couple of walks, HBP, and wild pitches as Krauth and his replacements suddenly had trouble finding the plate. It was a steady barrage, highlighted by Jared Foster, in the starting lineup for the lefty Karuth, lining one just below the top of the wall in left for an RBI double.
From there, LSU seemed to put it in cruise control, content to let the game run out and only making 1 more hit. The long 5th inning meant an early start for the LSU bullpen and Kansas took advantage of the opportunity. They tagged Kyle Bouman with a bases loaded RBI sac fly in the 6th and a 3 run bomb over the far right wall in the 7th. Alden Cartwright was quickly brought in to stop the damage and then Mainieri decided to go with FR Austin Bain in the 8th. Bain was supposedly going to get his first action of the year working a large portion of Wednesday's midweek game. He struck out his first batter faced, but it was a shaky outing. Kansas scored on an RBI double into the left corner in the 8th and had the game-tying run at the plate. A pop out and some nifty defensive work by Alex Bregman at SS ended the threat and finished the game just a few minutes after the hoops squad completed dismantling Tennessee.
I try not to take too much from these early season games because everyone is still getting used to playing actual games. I don't expect Coach Mainieri was too pleased with the plate approach after the Tigers got up big and there's some creeping worry about the middle relief so far this weekend, but that's why there's a month of play before the SEC games. Kansas has shown they're not interested in doing anything but trying their best to get a win this weekend and I expect they are going to fight hard to take away the Sunday sweep.