LSU opened up their second series of the season with an emphatic 13-6 victory over Bryant Friday night.
The Bulldogs made it easy for the Tigers, committing four errors, all of which eventually came around to score.
“Where they helped us was with their infield defense,” Mainieri said. “They’re a northern team and that’s one area that they tend to struggle with. They don’t get to go outside and take ground balls. To our credit, we took advantage of the errors that they made and we were able to have some good at-bats after that.”
LSU’s bullpen had a slight hiccup down the line and put the go-ahead run in the on-deck circle, but the Tigers quickly recouped before hitting the wall.
“We played a really terrific game...for about six innings,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said.
In just the second start of his career, Cade Beloso had a plus night, going 3-4 from the plate, including an infield single and an RBI.
“I’m trying to hit that ball to someone as hard as possible,” Beloso said. “No matter where it’s going, I’m trying to destroy that ball. It’s a mindset.”
Zack Hess had a decent night for LSU, throwing five innings of four hit ball, allowing just one run and walking two with six strikeouts. Hess switched his delivery to a leg kick and found success with it. According to Hess, the leg kick made it easier for him to throw different pitches with the same motion.
“I felt like I was a little bit more synced up,” Hess said. “The first few batters felt like I was feeling for it a bit, then once the three hole came up I fell into a groove and things started to sync up naturally...that gave my arm some time on my off-speed pitches to catch up and get in sync. I feel like that was huge for me.”
“Hess battled,” Mainieri said. “I thought Hess did a really good job. The first inning he really relied on his fastball, after that he started throwing his slider and his changeup. He did a really good job except his pitch count got up and we had to hook him after five innings.”
With a huge lead Mainieri opted to get some more innings for Eric Walker, who is still coming back from Tommy John surgery. Walker started off well but ran into some trouble, finishing with three runs in 1.2 innings of work where he only allowed one hit but walked two and hit another.
“He just lost his command,” Mainieri said. “He gave them a couple free passes, a wild pitch, and then let them get back into the game.”
LSU opened the scoring with two runs in the second inning, led off by a hit by pitch and single from Cade Beloso. LSU put on the hit and run with two runners on and no outs, but Hal Hughes missed on the swing. However, the throw from home wasn’t in line and sailed into the outfield, giving the Tigers the first run of the game. Hughes would make good on his swing and miss by singling home Beloso.
LSU tacked two more on in the next inning without hitting the ball out of the infield. A pair of walks to DiGiacomo and Cabrera followed a botched double play attempt loaded the bases with one out for Cade Beloso. Beloso hit an awkward grounder up the middle that the Bulldogs couldn’t properly field, bringing in a run and Hal Hughes followed that up with an RBI ground out.
Bryant reached the scoreboard in the following inning after hitting two loud doubles from the bats of Chris Wright and Sam Owens.
The Tigers continued their two run an inning pace in the bottom half of the inning, starting with a two-out single from DiGiacomo. Duplantis singled to the third baseman, whose throw back to the bag went wide and allowed both to move into scoring position. Cabrera scored DiGiacomo with a single to left and Duplantis scored on a wild pitch.
Bryant assisted LSU with with back to back errors in the bottom of the 5th to load the bases with one out after a Beloso leadoff single. Smith and DiGiacomo made the mistakes hurt with a pair of RBI hits to pad LSU’s lead to a comfortable 10-1.
After Walker came in and retired the Bulldogs 1-2-3, they took advantage of him losing command a bit and loaded the bases without putting the ball in play until Wright’s two-run single.
LSU relievers hit a wall in the top of the 8th, issuing a leadoff home run to Sam Owens and a double to Jake Gustin, walking him in with three straight walks. At one point, the Bulldogs had the go-ahead run on deck with one out but Devin Fontenot was able to come into the game and work out the jam, keeping LSU’s 10-4 lead.
“Fontenot came in and got a big out with the bases loaded against their best hitter,” Mainieri said. “He made some clutch pitches.”
The threat was short-lived afterward, as Daniel Cabrera put things to bed with a three-run home run to right field following a DiGiacomo hit by pitch and Duplantis single to bring the lead to the final score of 13-6.
Tomorrow’s game 2 of this series has been pushed back to a 7pm start due to impending weather.