Following a two and half hour delay, LSU took game one of their series against Wichita State 6-1.
Given the team’s recent struggles and the fact that this weekend’s series is the last before conference play, LSU head baseball coach Paul Mainieri used the opportunity to tinker with the lineup, and the results were mixed. Spots one through four in the lineup, composed of Kramer Robertson, Cole Freeeman, Antoine Duplantis, and Greg Deichmann went eight for fifteen.
LSU opened the scoring when Robertson singled to lead off the bottom of the first and advanced on a wild pitch before being scored by a Duplantis double to right that got stuck under the tarp.
The Tigers doubled their run total in the third when Freeman doubled to the left corner of the field and was once again scored by Duplantis. Duplantis moved to second on the throw home and once in position he was scored by a laser single off the bat of Deichmann.
Back to back singles and an error put Freeman and Duplantis on again in the fifth inning. This time they both all score on one swing, a mammoth blast from Deichmann that once again, cleared the ballpark and put LSU up 6-0.
“My approach for that at-bat was actually to go the other way,” said Deichmann of his towering shot that cleared a tree beyond the Alex Box Stadium perimeter. “(Sean) Ochinko actually told me before I got to the dugout ‘I bet you can’t go oppo’ so I was actually thinking that way and it’s just one of those things where I reacted and used my power.”
Six runs is all LSU would put on the board, but it’s about four more than they absolutely needed tonight.
After a disappointing outing last week against #1 TCU, Alex Lange was back and in full command of his pitches, throwing four innings of perfect baseball to start the game. Lange would give up his perfect bid in the fifth inning, but wound up pitching eight innings of two hit baseball, allowing no runs and no walks while striking out nine.
“That’s the one thing about Alex Lange,” said Mainieri after the game. “His confidence doesn’t fluctuate depending on what he did on his outing before or the inning before. He’s just the consummate winner. He always has the feeling that he’s going to get it going and he’s going to make the big pitch. And tonight he was awesome.”
While the top part of the lineup came up big for LSU, the bottom was less effectual. No batter after the four spot recorded a hit, and Jordan Romero was the only batter to reach base, once on an error and once on a walk. The bottom part of the lineup was largely unchanged by Mainieiri’s tinkering, so we shouldn’t see too much shakeup there the rest of the weekend unless the funk continues tomorrow.
But what Mainieri did change came up big.
“I really did it only for one reason,” said Mainieri. “I just wanted Kramer to go up to bat first without having guys in scoring position. I don’t think he’s been pressing but they’ve been pitching him differently because he comes up in the first inning and there’s somebody on base right away.”
Sophomore outfielder Antoine Duplantis took well to the move, going three for four on the night with two RBIs. But he didn’t notice much of a change in the swap in both batting spot and position.
“The only thing different mentally I guess would be that I’m trying to drive guys in instead of getting on base and moving guys over,” said Duplantis. “But other than that I go up there with the same approach that I always do.”
Game two of the series has been moved to 1 p.m. to avoid the same inclement weather that pushed game one back two and half hours. The game will be broadcast online on the SEC Network +.