You can call it Alex Box Magic if you want. You could call it luck, or a good team taking full advantage of an uncommon bounce.
Whatever you want to call it, LSU couldn’t have defeated Texas A&M 2-1 without it.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh and seemingly incapable of getting anything solid going against A&M starting pitcher John Doxakis, Brandt Broussard scored on a double-error play that saw a routine fly out dropped and roll to the wall before the ensuing throw would be off target.
In the very next inning, Josh Smith hit a home run to give LSU the 2-1 lead, one that they would hold on to in the top of the ninth.
“Regardless of whether or not we came back to win the game, I just though that was a tremendous ballgame,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “Ironically until their kid dropped the ball and they had an error on the relay. I just thought it was a well-played game crisply played by both teams.”
Texas A&M struck first after a leadoff double from Logan Foster in the third inning bounced off the base of the center field wall, which lead to an RBI single from Zach DeLoach.
Hess gave up another leadoff double the next inning, but this time was able to work his way around it. He finished his night after six innings of work where he allowed one earned run off five hits while striking out five and walking three.
After Hess was pulled, Trent Vietmeier and Devin Fontenot combined to hold Texas A&M to just one hit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.
“Our bullpen was absolutely phenomenal tonight,” Mainieri said.
LSU tied the game when Broussard hit the unassuming pop up in the bottom of the 7th. Only the ball was dropped out of right fielder Jonathon Ducoff’s glove. The ball rolled into the corner of the field, allowed Broussard to advance all the way to third. Ducoff’s throw went wide and once Brossard saw that, he was able to advance home to complete the two-error assisted inside the park home run.
“Right when I was rounding first I saw it fall,” Broussard said. “I put my head down and looked to (LSU third base coach Nolan Cain). I didn’t know it went all the way to the wall, he just kept waving me.”
“We got a big break,” Mainieri said. “We got a little bit of Alex Box Magic with the right fielder misplaying the ball and then them messing up on the relay.”
Broussard officially went 0-2 on the night, but his prior two at-bats resulted in uncharacteristically hard hit fly outs. Broussard hits are either of the seeing eye variety or come on infield singles where he uses his legs to reach base. For whatever reason he was getting under the ball, and it resulted in the break LSU needed.
“The first two swings I thought were good swings,” Broussard said. “They were elevated pitches. That last at-bat I was actually trying to hit the ball on the ground. I’m not a strong guy, even though I hit those balls well they were outs. So I was trying to put more emphasis on hitting on the ground and I popped it up even more. I don’t know how that happened but it’s baseball.”
“I wasn’t frustrated with Brandt putting the ball in the air,” Mainieri said. “Because he hit both the balls really good. The first one I didn’t know he could hit a ball that far. I thought the center fielder wouldn’t even get to it...the worst ball he hit was the last one.”
That was enough to chase Aggie starting pitcher Doxakis after his four-hit shutout bid was ruined by the double fault. Doxakis finished with no earned runs allowed and no free passes issued while striking out four.
“We hit multiple balls right at people,” Smith said. “It was one of those days where nothing was really falling for us...we competed”
“John pitched his heart out,” Mainieri said.
In the next inning, the Tigers took the lead on a solo home run from Josh Smith. Smith took his time to watch the no-doubter as the crowd whipped into a frenzy around him. It wasn’t a walk-off, but the sudden whiplash of momentum and energy injected into Alex Box Stadium made it feel like it.
“I kind of let my emotions take over a little bit there,” Smith said. “I hit it good and I watched it good.”
A&M put a baserunner on in the ninth inning, but couldn’t do anything else.
LSU will go for the series win tomorrow in a crazy busy day of LSU Sports. Due to heavy rain set for Sunday, Baseball will play 2, 9-inning games tomorrow beginning at 2pm. The third game will start at 7pm to accommodate TV on espn2.