LSU (24-11) dominated Ole Miss (21-13) 15-2 on Thursday night to take game one of their series with their arch rivals.
“I though that was a total effort by our team in every facet,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said after the game. “That’s as good as good as you can play right there. Starting pitching was awesome, we played defense, we had great at bats, ran the bases well...great focus, great intensity, we played extremely well.”
Alex Lange set the tone with 4.1 innings of perfect baseball, finishing with seven innings of three hit ball with seven strikeouts and one walk with no runs allowed. But behind him he received something he’s not particularly used to seeing this season: run support, and lots of it. 15 runs to be exact.
Kramer Robertson opened up the game with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. He was advanced on a Cole Freeman bunt and a Greg Deichmann groundout before scoring on Jordan Romero’s single past the shortstop. It was traditional ABC baseball resulting in an early run for the Tigers who have been having to scrap for a run recently.
In the second frame LSU put up another run when Michael Papierski drew a two out walk and scored on Antoine Duplantis’ double. Papierski probably had no right to make a move for the plate, but the catcher botched the catch and the LSU catcher scored to double LSU’s lead. The double snapped Duplantis’ 0-14 skid that grew out of the Arkansas series.
For the third inning in a row, LSU put up another run when Deichmann lead off the inning with a double deep to center. He did the improbable and stole third base and scored on another single from Jordan Romero to push LSU’s lead to 3-0. LSU ran themselves out of a run when Romero’s single was followed by another one from Zach Watson before both runners were sacrificed over. With one out, Romero was moving on contact and was dead meat on the ground ball to third base, ending the LSU scoring threat with Papierski popping out in foul territory on the next pitch.
LSU dropped another run in the fourth inning when Duplantis singled up the middle and advanced on a groundout. He stole third base and scored on a wild pitch to put LSU ahead 4-0.
The Tigers took those four runs and not only added to it in the fifth, the doubled it. Nick Coomes drew a two out walk and was followed by back to back singles from Papierski and Duplantis, the latter scoring Coomes. Robertson was plunked and Papierski scored along with Duplantis on Freeman’s single to center field. Greg Deichmann’s single provided the fourth run of the inning, pushing Robertson across the plate for an 8-0 lead.
The Tigers blew it open in the sixth, starting with two errors from Ole Miss third baseman Kyle Watson separated by a strikeout. Papierski walked to load the bases for Antoine Duplantis, who knocked in two runs with his fourth hit of the night.
Duplantis came into the game on a 0-14 slump and broke out of it with four hits and four RBIs, scoring three runs himself before getting lifted for Beau Jordan once the rout was on.
“I’ve been hurting for that kid,” Mainieri said about his sophomore outfielder. “Antoine is such a vital part of our team that when he struggles it feels like we struggle. When he swings good, we seem to loosen up and swing the bats as group well also. Today he look great and confident, his bat was like lightning through the zone.”
“You never have to worry about Antoine,” Deichmann said of the speedy contact batter. “Even when he’s scuffling a bit you know he’s going to find it and do exactly what he did tonight.”
“That’s what he does.”
Robertson drew a walk to load the bases once more, and then Greg Deichmann happened.
If you’re familiar with the Box, you know the tree that is just left and beyond the right field Diamond Deck.
That’s what Greg Deichmann’s grand slam bounced off of. These are the facts of the slam:
That grand slam by @Greg_D07:— LSUBaseballData (@LSUBaseballData) April 14, 2017
Exit velo - 111.4 mph
Launch angle - 29 degrees
Distance - 457 ft
Max Height - 113 ft
Hang Time - 5.91 sec
Those facts are wrong in the sense that they do not accurately convey exactly how crushed the baseball was. Nothing remains of it, and it is a valid question to ask if the ball ever existed in the first place. It is gone, permanently lodged in wood, or erased from existence as we know it via wormhole or disintegration. Nothing is left. Nothing remains.
“I’m surprised he did it honestly,” Deichmann said of the fastball that was the last moments for that baseball. “1-2 count and he threw me two elevated fastball and a slider...he laid one in for me.”
Just for good measure, LSU scored again in the 8th, this time off of a two out walk to Jake Slaughter, who advanced on Papierski’s third walk of the night and scored on Beau Jordan’s pinch hit double to left field.
Ole Miss broke the shutout in the ninth inning with a walk and a hit by pitch that scored on a double from replacement Zabowski, but that would be all for the Rebels.
“It was a great night for the Tigers, but I’ve been in this game long enough to know it only counts as one win,” Mainieri said.
“All we did today was avoid getting swept in a weekend series.”
LSU looks to take the series in game two tomorrow. It’s a 7:00 p.m. first pitch but Todd Walker’s number retirement ceremony will begin at 6:30. The game will be broadcast online only via the SEC Network+.