You may get to Alex Lange, but not until he gets to you first. The junior recorded 12 strikeouts in Friday night’s game against Maryland and sat down every batter in the Maryland lineup. Lange gave up just six hits in the same amount of innings pitched while only allowing two walks, his first of the year.
Lange’s first inning set the tone of the night where he struck out four batters thanks to an error on catcher Michael Papierski on a dropped third strike. In that first inning, he started the game by throwing six pitches, all of them strikes for two K’s.
“I thought (Lange) set the tone for the night,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “When he’s throwing his pitches for strikes like that they can’t sit on anything. They can say all they want about sitting on a fastball and letting his curveball go but it’s a lot easier said than done out there.”
“I like those three pitch strikeouts, by the way,” Mainieri continued.
Lange gave up the lone run of the game when he allowed a leadoff single to Brandon Gum in the fourth inning. The graduate transfer from George Mason was later scored when Kevin Smith double two batters later. Lange responded by striking out six of the next nine batters he faced.
Lange didn’t receive much in terms of run support, as his opposition had a strong out on the mound as well. Brian Shaffer went 6.2 innings, giving up the same number of hits that Lange did while striking out half as many batters. Outside of the third inning, Shaffer was sharp, tying up Tigers with his heavy curveball and pitches located low in the zone.
That third inning did him in though, and it started when Brennan Breaux singled up the middle before Freeman sacrificed Breaux over. That was followed with a triple from Antoine Duplantis, a single from Kramer Robertson, a single from Greg Deichmann, and a sacrifice fly from Jake Slaughter.
It took until the 8th inning for LSU to burst the game wide open, when Papierski made up for his error by uncorking a shot deep into the left field bleachers that scored three runs. The inning started when Josh Smith wore a pitch to leadoff the inning, and was followed by a single to left from Rankin Woley, who was pinch hitting for Chris Reid, who was pinch hitting for Bryce Adams, who in turn was struggling at the plate.
Spots two through six in the LSU lineup got at least one hit in the game, including freshman Jake Slaughter who extended his career-opening hit streak to six games when he singled in the bottom of the first inning.
The only players who had a multi-hit game were Kevin Smith and Marty Costes, both of Maryland.
Game two of the series will start at 2 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast online over the SEC Network+.