Behind home runs in the beginning of each of the first three innings, the LSU Tigers took down the Tennessee Volunteers in a very dominant fashion.
In the first inning, Beau Jordan kicked things off by scoring a home run on the very first pitch of the game. A single by Austin Bain that scored Zach Watson and a double-play ball by Daniel Cabrera scoring Antoine Duplantis put two more runs up for the Tigers.
In the second inning, LSU tacked on another home run, this time from Jake Slaughter. A groundout by Duplantis scored Jordan, and an RBI-single by Bain sent Watson home as well. At the end of the 2nd inning, LSU had established a solid lead of 6-0.
Junior Hunter Feduccia opened the third inning with a 2-0 pitch that made for the third leadoff home run of the night. Slaughter then hit his second homer of the night, putting the Tigers up 8-0.
The LSU bats went all but silent after that, but it was hardly a problem as Tennessee only managed four hits all night.
Friday’s performance marked the first time LSU has hit four home runs in an SEC contest in almost half a decade. The last time this occurred was on May 6, 2012 against Ole Miss in Alex Box Stadium.
Per LSU statistician Todd Politz, this was also the first LSU hit a leadoff home run in three consecutive innings since the Tigers achieved it in the 2008 postseason against UC Urvine and North Carolina.
#LSU hasn't had leadoff HR's in 1st-2nd-3rd dating to 1997 (will require further research). However, the Tigers had leadoff HRs in 3-straight innings in 2008: 8th inning v. UC Irvine (NCAASR) then 1st/2nd v. North Carolina (CWS).— Todd Politz (@tpolitz) April 14, 2018
As for the pitching aspect of the game, RHP Zack Hess was key. In his sixth win of the year, the sophomore allowed 3 hits over 7 innings, and struck out eight Volunteer batters with 1 walk.
“I think overall I just had pretty good feel for everything,” Hess said. “I was just taking that mindset from last week against Texas A&M and carrying it into this game, trying to attack a little bit more and not trying to strike everybody out. I think it paid off.”
Over the course of his last three SEC starts, Hess has played 21.2 innings and allowed 10 hits, two runs and struck out 23 batters. He also came away with the win in each of those starts.
Tennessee starting pitcher Garrett Crochet obviously did not fare as well, allowing 8 runs on 10 hits and 4 home runs on the evening.
Both the Tigers and the Vols will return to The Box on Saturday for the second game of the three-game series. The game’s start time was initially 6:30 p.m. CT, but has been moved to 8 p.m. CT due to weather concerns.