The rain on opening night was cursed, but it’s presence proved to be lucky. LSU being forced into a double header with a pair of 7-inning games allowed for a chance at history as Jared Poche’ opened his senior year with the first LSU no-hitter since 1979.
In the opener, Alex Lange began his junior campaign with a typically stellar outing, throwing five complete with four hits, no runs, and six strikeouts. Lange worked in the low 90s early, dipped into the 80s in the fourth, then was back in the 90s in the fifth, possibly sensing his pitch count limited outing was coming to an end. Caleb Gilbert started the 6th a bit unsteady with a walk and hit-by-pitch before Robertson and the defense quickly bailed him out with a double play. Bain wrapped it up in the 7th, a two-out grounder to left being the only action.
Cole Freeman started the first game’s scoring with a grounder to right, then stole 2nd and took 3rd on an error. Antoine Duplantis bunted him home. After a Robertson walk, one of 5 in the first game from Army pitching, Greg Deichman then came up for his first at bat after breaking his face in three places just last week. Deichman showed he hadn’t lost a step, launching one deep over the right center wall to score two. Jake Slaughter got his welcome to college baseball with a solo HR to left to lead off the fourth, then the floodgate opened in the 5th when the Tigers batted around. LSU scored five runs on three hits, highlighted by an RBI double from Freeman.
In the second game, with the sun finally shining on Skip Bertman Field, LSU threatened early with a Robertson single and a Deichmann walk, but they would be stranded as Army’s Ty Giovinco would keep LSU off the board until the 5th inning. Adams, Papierski, Freeman, and Smith combined for three runs on four hits. The same would happen for Army’s Logan Smith as Slaughter, Beau Jordan , Smith, and Freeman marked a three-run, four-hit combo of their own.
But the headline of the day is Jared Poche’ and an LSU defense that hasn’t lost a step. Poche zoomed through the first and second innings racking up four strikeouts. Then we got another episode of Kramer being Kramer as he racked up six 6-3 put outs, each one better highlight material than the last. The only blemish came in the 4th as Deichmann seemingly lost a Josh White pop fly in the sun, allowing a base runner that would get all the way to third. But he would not score. Poche’s’ typical style of inducing ground balls for his infield to make plays on seemed to be in mid-season form.
Though it’s unlikely he would have been allowed to go more than the 79 pitches he threw in the rain-forced seven-inning second game of a DH, Jared Poche’ will still find his place forever etched in the LSU record book. It’s strange to think it, but in all the many years under Skip Bertman and Paul Mainieri, and all the many great teams and great arms that have come through Baton Rouge, Poche’ threw the first no hitter since 1979. It was the 6th no-hitter in program history and the fourth seven-inning no-hitter, the last one being recorded by Bobby Landry against Southern Miss on March 4th, 1979. If not for Deichmann’s error, it would have been the 2nd Perfect Game in LSU history, a mark still held alone by Bruce Baudier against Bama in 1967, also a seven inning game.
A historic night, and the Tigers get right back at it tomorrow. Air Force comes back to town after spitting thier own DH today against the Greenies. Game time is set for 1 p.m. as LSU continues it’s Military Appreciation Weekend with much pomp and circumstance.
The man of the hour just got a Gatorade bath pic.twitter.com/gQRE2PTBHE— Luke Johnson (@ByLukeJohnson) February 19, 2017