After dropping the opening SEC series against Mississippi State and getting swept by Tennessee with Vanderbilt coming to town this weekend, LSU got just what they needed against South Alabama Tuesday night: a boring, plain 11-1 victory.
The Tigers scored ten of their 11 runs in the first four innings and had some opportunistic hitting that has been proven rare in the past two weekends, recording just nine hits. The pitching staff was piecemealed together, but effective all the same in limiting South Alabama to just a run on four hits.
“I was really proud of the guys,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieir said. “They were able to put the weekend behind them quickly and go out there and get us a good win.”
“We needed to win tonight. And we did.”
LSU, already holding a 1-0 lead heading into the inning, batted around and scored six runs in the second inning, blowing the game wide open early on. Dylan Crews, Gavin Dugas, and Cade Beloso picked up an RBI in the inning but most of the damage came from a bases-loaded double from Cade Doughty to center field.
It was the type of inning LSU desperately needed after a frustrating weekend on Rocky Top where the Tigers couldn’t pick up the big hit they needed when they needed it, and it serves as some vindication for LSU’s approach at the plate.
“I don’t think we really changed anything,” Doughty said. “We just came up in the big situations and executed. We’ve done a great job of sticking to what we believe and embracing it. It really worked out today.”
LSU (17-8) picked up another run in the third inning after three straight walks and a groundout and then another in the fourth when Hayden Travinski hit a solo home run to left field in the fifth.
South Alabama (13-10) reached the scoreboard in the sixth inning with a triple from Ethan Wilson to deep left.
Dylan Crews made it an 11-1 game in the seventh inning when he launched a two-run home run deep into left field, his eighth of the year.
LSU went with the bullpen committee approach to pitching, with Will Hellmers and Blake Money splitting the first four innings. Combined with Alex Brady the first three Tiger pitchers threw five hitless innings, allowing just a pair of walks and striking out five.
All told, eight LSU pitchers only allowed a single run on four hits and two walks while striking out six.
“Our bullpen did a tremendous job,” Mainieri said. “We just pieced it together and all the pitchers did a tremendous job.”
LSU welcomes Vanderbilt and their knockout one-two punch of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter to town Thursday night for a three-game set.
The Tigers face an uphill challenge against the Commodores Death Star pitching staff, but the victory against South Alabama was a definite step in the right direction heading into the series.
“We needed to get right back on track,” Hellmers said. “Flush what happened last weekend and move on. It was obviously not our best weekend and we couldn’t come up in any games. The most important thing was to flush that, get back on track with this big win right here and get ready for the weekend against a really good team.”
Game one will be at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast online on SECN+ and over the radio on 98.1 FM.