Tre’ Morgan has taken over, both in the field and at the plate.
The freshman has been putting on a defensive showcase over at first all season long, but his bat is beginning to come around, and it was on full display Wednesday night in New Orleans in LSU’s 5-0 victory over New Orleans.
The freshman went 3-for-4 on a homecoming night of sorts, with a triple included. He also knocked in two runs and scored two himself, and for good measure even stole third.
“I play every game like it’s my last,” Morgan said. “I’ve been doing that since travel ball and it’s carried to college. That’s how I’ve been playing my whole life.”
“He’s a lot of fun to watch.” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He may make it look effortless, but it’s not effortless. He puts in a lot of hard work.”
LSU (11-3) also got a strong performance from their pitchers starting with freshman Will Hellmers, who went five shutout innings with four hits allowed with one walk and seven strikeouts.
“It felt great to get back on the bump,” Hellmers said. “Struggled with my stuff in the first inning with my locations and changeup, but got back on board with everything in the second inning and throughout the rest of the game.”
“He’s just that ‘it’ factor about him,” Mainieri said. “There something about him where he just finds a way to get the job done. His teammates play with a lot of confidence in him, they know he’s going to be out there competing hard and they play hard behind him. He instills a lot of confidence in the team in the way he goes about his business.”
The Tiger bullpen combination of Devin Fontenot, Alex Brady, Ty Floyd, and Garrett Edwards all pitched an inning each, combining to finish the shutout with four innings with as many hits allowed and two walks surrendered while striking out five.
After some shaky outings, Fontenot got back on track with a 1-2-3 inning against the middle of the UNO (5-7) lineup, striking out two of the batters he faced.
“Pitching-wise I thought I thought it was a great performance, starting with Will and then the bullpen came in and did a great job,” Mainieri said. “Fontenot came in really early today, I wanted him to pitch against the heart of their lineup...I thought that was a key time in the game when we took Will out and all of a sudden the heart of the order was up. It wasn’t a save situation but I just thought to keep the momentum on our side, I wanted Fontenot in there. And he went out there and did the job for us in the sixth inning.”
It’s the third shutout LSU has pitched this season.
Cade Beloso also had a strong night, going 2-for-4 at the dish with two RBI and a double. Beloso, Hellmers, and Morgan were all playing in a homecoming of sorts, as they are well from New Orleans.
“It felt great looking in the stands and seeing familiar faces I’ve seen in high school and all my life watching me play,” Morgan said. “It felt good.”
“It was great to come back home and get a win on the road at a place like UNO,” Hellmers said. “It was great to be home for a second but we’ve got to get back to work in Baton Rouge.”
LSU opened the scoring in the third inning after Alex Milazzo and Dylan Crews led off the inning by reaching base by way of a throwing error and a single. Morgan scored Milazzo with a single to center and then Cade Beloso hit a sacrifice fly to score Crews, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Morgan scored another run for LSU in the fifth inning when he hit his third triple in as many games to score Crews. Beloso then brought Morgan home with a double to double LSU’s lead.
Morgan is the first Tiger to hit a triple in three straight games since Trey Watkins did so in 2010.
“I’m just trying to hit the ball where it’s placed,” Morgan said. “It just happens to be down the left field line every time.”
LSU picked up another run in the seventh inning after Morgan picked up his third hit of the game, advanced to second on a balk, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
The Tigers will return home for a three-game series against UTSA this weekend starting Friday night at 7:00 p.m.. The game will be broadcast online on SECN+ and aired over the radio on 100.7 FM.