A night after LSU’s bullpen collapsed with a 5-1 lead against UNO, the Tigers (4-1) put together a near perfect performance against the Hofstra Pride (0-4)
Zach Hess made his first ever collegiate start for the Tigers and put together a gem: five innings pitched with only two hits allowed and six strikeouts while only giving up two walks. Hess had a streak where he retired eight of nine Pride batters before giving up three straight walks (separated by an inning).
“I thought he was very confident tonight and threw the ball with a lot of conviction,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri.
But LSU’s struggles on the lakefront Tuesday night didn’t lie in the starting pitching but in the bullpen. Hess was iced after five innings and the first arm out of the pen was Todd Peterson. Peterson set the tone with his rapid pitching style, pounding the strike zone every 13 seconds or so. Peterson pitched a perfect two innings, inducing five groundouts and one strikeout. Mainieri pulled Peterson after those two innings to potentially save him for Friday’s game against Maryland, but noted his work ethic on the mound and tendency to throw low strikes exclusively.
After the game, Todd Peterson’s personality explained a lot about his pitching style.
“A lot of people ask me ‘Don’t you feel rushed?’, ‘Stay back’, all that stuff, but it just comes to me (naturally) and it’s just my play style,” Peterson said while practically bouncing up and down in place.
“Just throw strikes. Just throw it over the plate, and pound the zone,” he said with a smile.
Hofstra didn’t score a run until a throwing error in the ninth inning allowed Rob Weissheirer to score. It was their first run of the season that did not come via a home run.
But this game’s legacy won’t be the stellar bullpen outing from LSU. No, this game highlighted something far less elegant and a lot more violent.
The new Alex Box Stadium Skip Bertman Field has been open since 2009. In 2010, the right field bleachers and The Intimidator were installed. Since then, hitting the ball over the giant billboard erected as a testament to LSU’s past accomplishments has always been something of a legend, something talked about but never actually done in a game.
Greg Deichmann did just that when he eviscerated a baseball in the second inning. That ball is said to have traveled 486 feet but all you need to know is that it cleared the batting cages behind the right field bleachers.
“Anything that travels that far should have a flight attendant,” joked Mainieri after the game. “That was about as long of a home run as I’ve ever seen.”
Greg Deichmann may have decided to hit the ball hard, but his teammates settled for consistency. After Deichmann’s two run slam in the second inning, five of LSU’s eight runs batted in came with two outs. In the fifth inning LSU strung three singles in a row from Cole Freeman, Antoine Duplantis, and Kramer Robertson with a double from Deichmann added in for good measure to double their lead to 4-0.
In the following inning, LSU would add two more when catcher Michael Papierski hit a double that scored Josh Smith. Jake Slaughter singled in Robertson in the seventh and pinch hitter Rankin Woley recorded his first RBI and hit as a Tiger when he lined a double that barely stayed fair into left field. That allowed Beau Jordan to score from first base.
LSU is at home this weekend for a series against Maryland. Start times are 7:00 Friday, 2:00 Saturday, and 11:00 AM Sunday. All three games will be streamed on the SEC Network+.