Alex Lange was absolutely top class in LSU’s 4-0 victory over Auburn in game one of the penultimate regular season series Thursday night.
The junior righty threw nine strikeouts to bring his season total to 100 in addition to to throwing a complete game shutout. Lange allowed five hits in the game with no walks. The only free pass came on a hit by pitch in the ninth inning, his first of the year. Lange had plus control of his curveball, both the “get me by” and the strikeout spike curveball and complimenting that with a solid fastball. Lange also used Auburn’s aggressiveness against them, recording eight outs with less than two pitches in an at bat.
While Alex Lange throwing a complete game is shocking to nobody, Lange brushed it off like it was nothing.
“I have that mentality when I wake up in the morning the night I’m throwing, ‘I’m throwing nine tonight’”, Lange said. “But you tell yourself that you have to because when the opportunity presents itself you have to be ready mentally for it.”
LSU exploded for three runs in the first inning that began with a Kramer Robertson leadoff walk. Back to back singles from Greg Deichmann and Antoine Duplantis scored Robertson and a Nick Coomes hit by pitch loaded them up. Beau Jordan walked to put the carousel in motion and Josh Smith hit a sac fly to score Greg Deichmann to put LSU ahead 3-0 after a single frame.
LSU added a fourth in the second inning when Robertson walked for a second time in the as many innings. He was bunted over by Cole Freeman and scored on a double from Duplantis.
“It’s always nice pitching with a lead early in the ballgame,” Lange said. “When you’re able to pitch early with a lead you don’t have to be as fine.”
“You get Lange a lead and it’s very comforting,” Coomes said. “Any time he’s on like he was on tonight any kind of lead is nice. He was unbelievable. The ball was exploding out of his hand and his breaking ball was on point.”
“He’s the one everyone knows and everyone loves. Even if you have a one run lead against Lange it’s very comforting.”
After those first two innings LSU went cold at the plate, recording just two hits in the next five innings, both recorded by Nick Coomes. Gabe Klobosits held the LSU order in check and gave the Auburn Tigers a fighting chance to come back into the game.
“Everybody was talking about the splitter he was throwing,” Coomes said of his successful night against Klobosits. “But I was lucky enough and I didn’t see it that much. I probably saw it once or twice in my two or three at bats against him but I was lucky enough that I got fastballs to hit.”
“It’s how baseball is,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri explained after the game. “We hit the ball hard all night. We had four innings where we hit the ball right on the screws with a runner at second base with two outs and had nothing to show for it. So I don’t think we swung the bad that poorly after those first couple of innings.”
His efforts were in vain, four runs were all that LSU needed with Alex Lange on the bump. It took until the eighth inning for somebody not named Dylan Ingram to record a hit off of Lange. Before that, Ingram had recorded all three of Auburn’s hits off Lange. His attempt at a perfect four for four night against the LSU ace came crashing down in the ninth when he reached base via a ball to the helmet.
LSU meets Auburn for game two tomorrow night at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast online only on the SEC Network+ via the WatchESPN app.