LSU baseball is back in the win column.
The Tigers had a tough weekend in Houston, coming our 1-2 in the Shriners Hospital for Children College Classic, but bounced back Tuesday night with a 6-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana.
“We kind of just grinded out a win tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Early in the game, I thought we had some really good at bats. We worked really hard on trying to hit the ball to opposite field yesterday in practice. I think we had four or five hits early in the game the other way. It wasn’t a real great performance, but we found a way to win.”
The Tigers went a combined 9-for-29 (.331) against the Lions with right fielder Daniel Cabrera and infielder Cade Doughty both notching two hits on the night. Doughty in particular is becoming more consistent at the plate after struggling for a few games before the Tigers’ trip to Houston.
“Obviously I’d like to see (Doughty) do even more, but he got a couple hits tonight and hopefully that’ll get him going,” Mainieri said.
LSU put up runs early in the game. Left fielder Drew Bianco hit a one-out double and advanced to third on the error and was then driven in by a Cabrera groundout to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
LSU tacked on another run in the second with singles from Saul Garza and Giovanni DiGiacomo. Shortstop Collier Cranford’s RBI double gave LSU a 3-0 lead after two innings of play.
In the top of the third, LSU starting pitcher right-hander Brandon Kaminer issued a leadoff walk before giving up back-to-back singles as Southeastern cut the Tigers’ lead to 3-1.
LSU didn’t take long to strike back. Doughty hit his second home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left field bleachers, in the bottom half of the inning to give LSU a 5-1 lead.
Bianco led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a walk and was driven in with an RBI single by first baseman Cade Beloso, giving LSU a 6-1 lead. It was Beloso’s first hit since last Wednesday against Louisiana Tech.
Southeastern attempted to mount a small comeback when LSU right-hander Trent Vietmeier gave up a solo home run to Jacob Burke in the top of the sixth inning and right-hander Chase Costello gave up two hits and a run in the seventh, but that would be all for the Lions.
LSU didn’t score after past the fifth inning. Throughout the young season, the Tigers have had a tendency to score runs early in the game and struggle later in the game.
“I think it’s partially just having young players, who if they don’t get good at bats early in the game, maybe they get down on themselves and lose a little bit of confidence,” Mainieri said. “Then the at bats late in the game, when they need to be at their best, they’re not quite thinking positively the way they need to. It’s just something to keep working on and keep addressing and hopefully we’ll keep getting better.”
Mainieri said he still felt like LSU’s five strikeouts were too many and expects them to get better in that area as they progress this season.
“We grinded it out at the end,” Mainieri said. “We’ll take it. It’s much better to win than to lose that’s for sure. It sounds silly, but it makes the guys feel a lot better when you’re scoring more runs than the other team.”