LSU (17-5) picked up a huge midweek win Wednesday night when they beat Southeastern Louisiana (14-6) 8-2.
Josh Smith went a perfect four for four on the night with two singles and two doubles with four runs batted in behind Zack Hess’ four inning start where he allowed just two hits and one run while striking out four and walking two.
“It was a good win against a quality opponent, a team that I’m certain will be in the NCAA Tournament,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri after the game. “That’s a really good team. So that’s a solid win for us.”
Tiger starter Zack Hess was less affected by the fact that he was getting the start against a postseason quality opponent. “With the level of baseball in Louisiana I think every single team we play from here on out we know it’s gonna be a battle from here on out,” Hess said after the game. “We just approach this game like we do every other game. We know this team has a good shot of being in the postseason. So we don’t take them lightly.”
Greg Deichmann did notice.
“It seems like they’re in our regional every single year,” he said. “So coming out here and getting a win against them going into this weekend, one it was a good challenge and two it sets us up for this weekend.”
LSU opened the scoring in the bottom part of the second when Zach Watson drew a one out walk and scored on a Josh Smith double over centerfielder Jacob Seward’s head.
The Tigers would add to their lead in the third on the back of Greg Deichmann’s three run opposite field home run that scored Michael Papierski and Antoine Duplantis, who reached on a walk and a single. Southeastern would get a run back in the top of the fourth on a home run of their own when Tayler Schwaner cleared the bleachers in left with his solo home run to put Southeastern on the board.
Controversy was raised in the top of the fifth when Russell Reynolds had an exchange with the Southeastern dugout after his hat was called upon for inspection for foreign substances at the request of SLU head coach Matt Riser. It passed, but Reynolds was pulled in favor of Matt Beck soon after.
Gold Jerry, Gold!— Michael Cauble (@MichaelCauble) March 23, 2017
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“Russell wouldn’t know what to do with the ball if there was something foreign on it,” joked Mainieri after the game. “Russell felt a little discredited because he had gotten the first two hitters out.”
LSU doubled their lead in the eighth inning starting with a leadoff walk drawn by Robertson. Cole Freeman followed with a single to right but was out on an Duplantis fielder’s choice. Greg Deichmann was walked to load the bases for Watson. Watson took the first pitch he saw and gave it a ride out to left, but not far enough for a grand slam. The out was recorded, but Robertson was able to score from third to push LSU up to 5-1 on the Southeastern. Jake Slaughter was hit by a pitch for the 10th time this young season to load the bases full for Josh Smith, who recorded his fourth hit of the night when he doubled in all three runners to bring LSU’s lead to 8-1.
“It’s always great to get two-out-RBIs because those are really back breakers for the other team,” Mainieri said. “When you feel like you’re almost out of a jam and somebody comes up with a two-out-RBI, it’s a little bit demoralizing.”
Southeastern would score on another solo home run in the 9th from Carson Crites to make the game 8-2 in LSU’s favor, but that would be all for Southeastern.
LSU will depart from Baton Rouge tomorrow for Gainesville for their series against #11 Florida. Game one will start at 6 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network. Game two will be a 2 p.m. start on ESPN2 and the finale will fall back on the network with a noon start time.