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Baseball Wins Season Opener, Beats Air Force 6-1

Jaden Hill deals and Zach Arnold goes yard

Brandon Gallego

It’s been nearly an entire year since the LSU baseball team took the field, but after 346 days the Tigers were back in Alex Box Stadium and opened the 2021 season with a 6-1 win over Air Force.

Jaden Hill was as good as advertised, striking out five in four innings. Hill’s fastball consistently hit 97-98 mph and overwhelmed Air Force; his off speed pitches were devastating too, as Hill got three straight Falcons to strike out looking in the first inning.

True freshman Garrett Edwards took over for Hill in the fifth inning, allowing one hit and striking out a pair. Matthew Beck came in for Edwards in the sixth and threw 1.1 innings; Alex Brady, Aaron George and Devin Fontenot all saw action as well. All told, the LSU pitching staff combined for 14 strikeouts.

“Our whole pitching staff was the story of the game,” Paul Mainieri said. “Jaden pitched an extra inning. He had a really good outing after only planning for three. Garrett was great and then Matthew said it was the best he felt in five to six weeks so I adjusted the plans for that. He was tremendous today. The whole bullpen was fantastic.”

The Tiger offense methodically pieced together its first run of the season in the first inning. Cade Doughty and Cade Beloso walked, and Gavin Dugas reached after getting hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, freshman first basemen Tre Morgan walked, scoring Doughty. Giovani DiGiacomo hit an RBI single in the fifth to put LSU up 2-0, and Morgan would drive in his second career RBI in the sixth with a base hit to left field, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

In the seventh Doughty hit a sac fly to right field that scored Zach Arnold, and in the eighth Arnold hit a two-run home run to left field to give LSU its 6-1 advantage.

The Tigers take the field at 12:00 today for game two against Air Force. Landon Marceaux makes his season debut for LSU, while Air Force counters with senior right hander John Byrnes.