The first ball a slow roller. Third baseman Jordan Thompson had to make a charge on it and ended up short arming the throw. It didn’t matter, Tre Morgan was there to make the pick.
The second was a foul pop up that hung in the air just left of the bullpen. At the last second, the ball drifted back to the foul line. Didn’t matter, Tre Morgan was there to make the falling catch. The third was a dribbler that Jaden Hill had to range over to his right to cover. He put plenty of mustard on the ball, but as a result he sailed it to the inside of the bag. Didn’t matter, Tre Morgan kept his toe on the bag.
You can watch a lot of baseball before you see another inning as impressive of a defensive inning as Morgan had in LSU’s 6-2 victory over Youngstown State Friday night.
Did this LSU first baseman just have one of the best defensive innings at the position ever lol pic.twitter.com/hBX5hU8CYd— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) February 27, 2021
“Tre Morgan put on a clinic over there at first base,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “If our infielders just hit somewhere close to him to give him a chance, I expect him to pick every ball. It looks so instinctive to me. He knows when to keep his foot on the base. I’ve watched it all fall, I watched it in the preseason and now in our short season so far he’s made several unbelievable plays and saved errors for our infield.”
“That dude is a human vacuum cleaner,” Hill, who had an error saved from one of Morgan’s picks, said.
During the pre-game warmups, Morgan noted that the infield was slightly wetter than normal, and he anticipated having to make the extra effort to complete outs.
“I told them that as long as they catch it, just throw it somewhere near me,” Morgan said. “When I came off the field I was smiling because I knew I did something pretty special. I knew I had a good inning.”
As good as Morgan was, the rest of the team showed out as well in one of the most complete games LSU (4-1) has put forth in a while. The Tigers hit four home runs and got a solid start from Jaden Hill, who had the longest outing of his career with six innings where he allowed no runs or walks, gave up just one hit and struck out four.
“This is what we expected,” Hill said. “I know everything’s not gonna come all at once, but if we stand by the process and keep going I can go deeper in the games and my pitch count can keep going up. I’m extremely happy but at the end of the day I’ve got to keep going forward...I wanted to finish the game but it’s only the second weekend.”
“I thought he was in complete control all night,” Mainieri said.
Cade Beloso got things started for the Tigers in the first inning when he smashed a two-run home run to right field to score Morgan, who himself had a 2-for-4 night at the plate. Morgan picked up his second single in the third inning and came around to score again on a two-run blast from Cade Doughty. Gavin Dugas and Zach Arnold also hit solo home runs to further pad LSU’s lead.
“That was nice to see,” Mainieri said. “All of those home runs were really hit well. Beloso was a real leader getting it started.”
Really, the only thing LSU didn’t do well was hit with runners in scoring position, putting up a paltry 1-for-6 outing. But that pain is eased by the one hit they picked up, Doughty’s two-run home run. Beloso’s home run came with Morgan on first.
“It was a little misleading how close the game was,” Mainieri said. “You would think we let up but we had some bad breaks. Tre hit a ball right at the third baseman and turned into a double play right as it looked like we had something going, we had second and third and I though Jordan had a pretty good cut but just topped the ball to the third baseman. Overall I thought we had a lot of good at-bats.”
Youngstown State (1-4) broke the Tigers’ shutout once Hill was removed from the game in the seventh inning, scoring via a single from left fielder, groundout, and single. The Penguins added another run in the ninth inning when second baseman Jeff Wehler hit a solo home run.
LSU will wrap the weekend tomorrow, playing a double header against Youngstown State at 2:00 p.m. and then Nicholls at 6:30 p.m., or thirty minutes following the end of the YSU game. Both games will be streamed online on SECN+