Friday night’s game was expected to be a pitcher’s duel between LSU and Mississippi State’s aces. In that regard, the game delivered.
However the Tiger bats never really posed much of a threat to State and Christian McLeod, scoring just one run on four hits in a 6-1 loss to the Bulldogs.
“We just didn’t do enough,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “It was their night tonight and not so much for us.”
“You’ve gotta score more than one run in order to win, and we just couldn’t muster enough offense.”
Jaden Hill pitched well for the Tigers, throwing 106 pitches over 7.1 innings, allowing five runs (all earned) on nine hits and a pair of walks and strikeouts.
“Coming in, I didn’t have my best velocity,” Hill said. “I thought it was going to be a day where I focused more on my pitches being prettier, but as the game went on I settled in more. Overall, I felt good with all three of my pitches.”
Three of those hits and two of those runs came in the eighth inning, the longest he has ever worked in a college game. Had Hill not been pushed into the 8th, he would have finished with just three runs allowed on six hits.
“I thought he was still throwing the ball well,” Mainieri said. “In his last outing he threw right at 100 pitches but still felt pretty strong. He still had some good stuff but once he got over 100 pitches, that was going to be the end. I thought Jaden still had it and it was the right time to leave him in.”
But the LSU lineup just couldn’t figure out Christian MacLeod, who pitched six innings where he allowed just the one run on a double and only allowed three hits. MacLeod struck out nine and issued a pair of walks.
“He just pitched well against us,” Mainieri said. “He kept us off-balance a lot by mixing his pitches.”
“You have to tip your hat to him.”
The silver lining in the cloud is that LSU only used two pitchers, Hill and Ma’Khail Hilliard, leaving their bullpen fully stocked for the last two games of the series.
LSU (15-4) threatened early and loaded the based in the first inning after two walks and an error, but failed to pick up a hit.
“Who knows if we came through there,” Mainieri said. “If we would have gotten the lead, maybe the game would have been a little different. But it didn’t happen.”
The Tigers wouldn’t score until the sixth inning when miscommunication on a fly ball in shallow right put Cade Doughty on with two outs. Gavin Dugas would make that mistake hurt with a double to right field to score Doughty, but that would be all the Tigers could muster.
Mississippi State (15-3) broke the seal against Hill in the fourth inning when Josh Hatcher hit a leadoff double that Brayland Skinner followed with a solo home run to right field to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs added another run in the seventh inning when Hatcher hit another double and was scored by Skinner again with single up the middle.
The next inning State would break the game open against a tired Hill, hitting three straight singles to load the bases with no outs and scoring three runs after chasing Hill on two hits to make it 6-1.
Game two will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and will be streamed online via SECN+.