After the emotional rollercoaster that was LSU’s improbable sweep over UTSA over the weekend, a normal baseball game felt like a welcome surprise for the Tigers.
Over the weekend, the Tigers’ bullpen blew three straight leads, only to come back and win all three games. Such dramatics weren’t necessary Tuesday night as LSU took the lead in the first inning against the Lions and never gave it up, beating Southeastern 10-7.
LSU’s pitching produced another mixed bag performance, with starter Will Hellmers and Ma’Khail Hilliard pitching the first five innings where they combined to allow six earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out three.
But Ty Floyd, Devin Fontenot, and Garrett Edwards came through with much-needed solid performances out of the pen. Floyd pitched 1.1 innings where he only allowed a walk while striking out three. Fontenot and Edwards then followed with 1-2-3 innings to close out the game, with Fontenot striking out two.
“I thought out bullpen was terrific in the late innings,” Mainieri said. “I thought Floyd was outstanding, Fontenot gave us probably the best inning of the year, and then Garrett Edwards was outstanding also. So the last 3 1⁄3 innings were really good for our bullpen and allowed us to hold on.”
With SEC play looming on the horizon, this is exactly the type of outing the bullpen needed heading into a huge matchup against Mississippi State.
“This was a great thing tonight,” Floyd said. “Last weekend, I know we won but those games shouldn’t have been like that. Tonight was a good night, definitely helped boost our confidence heading into this weekend.”
LSU (15-3) opened the game with four runs from the jump when Mitchell Sanford hit a two-out single to score Tre Morgan, followed by a three-run blast from Hayden Travinski.
Travinski made his debut behind the plate after an arm injury left him limited defensively. He didn’t remain in for the whole game, but went 2-for-2 with 5 RBI and two extra base hits.
“I feel like I’ve put together a good string of at-bats that have really carried over,” Travinski said. “I was really antsy for the entire day today. I just knew that it was my first collegiate start behind the dish. So it was fun to get out there and showcase a bit.”
Southeastern (11-4) trimmed the Tiger lead to just one run in the third inning when Jacob Burke and Preston Faulkner hit back-to-back home runs, with Burke’s scoring two runs.
But the Tigers were able to answer with a run in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out single from Cade Beloso to score Dugas. They then hung a five-spot in the fourth inning by way of a three-run home run from Cade Doughty and a two-run double from Travinski.
But still. the Lions came back to make it a game after scoring three runs in fifth via a two RBI double from Faulkner and a sacrifice fly from Christian Garcia. SLU added another run in the 6th inning after an RBI groundout cut LSU’s lead to 10-7.
“I knew it was going to be a dogfight tonight, and they gave us everything we could handle.” Mainieri said. “They battled right back. They’ve got a good ball club.”
But fortunately for LSU, the bullpen found their footing and was able to stop the slow bleeding and seal the victory for the Tigers.
LSU will open conference play by hosting Mississippi State this weekend starting at 6:00 p.m. Friday. The game will air on the SEC Network and 98.1 FM. LSU has announced that capacity at Alex Box is going up to 50% this weekend and will be putting additional tickets on sale this Wednesday at 9 AM.