The long and short of it is that it was ugly. Very ugly. 22-7 ugly. If you don’t want the morbid details, stop reading here.
If you want the morbid details, here they are: Oral Roberts (3-6) scored eight runs in the first inning, then 11 in the fourth. LSU starter Jaden Hill faced all nine batters in the lineup and only recorded one out, allowing eight runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks. Hill, Ma’Khail Hilliard, and Brandon Kaminer all combined to throw .2 innings where the trio allowed 11 hits, 17 runs, (again all earned), and gave up four walks and recorded just one strikeout.
Dating back to 2001, it is the most runs LSU has allowed at Alex Box Stadium.
“I’ve had more fun days at the ballpark, that’s for sure,” LSU (8-2) head coach Paul Mainieri said. “This game, I’ve been in it a long time, it never seems to surprise me. Just when you think you’ve got this game figured out, it’ll bite out. Last week, Jaden Hill completely dominated the game and today couldn’t get out of the first inning. This Oral Roberts team on Tuesday night were three-hit shutout at home. Today, their first three batters got hits.”
“It’s the most humbling game there is.”
Whether it was a cause or a symptom of the blowout, the usually solid Tiger defense looked lost and unmotivated. The outfielders struggled with tracking down routine fly balls, the left side of the infield couldn’t knock balls down, the right side of the infield couldn’t corral balls, and the usually rock solid Alex Milazzo even had a few passed balls behind the plate.
There were some bright spots, like how LSU rebounded after the eight-run first to score three in the bottom half of the inning and then four in the second to cut it to a one-run game. Oral Roberts is a great mid-major program, but seven runs in game one of a weekend series should be enough for a program of LSU’s stature to capture a win.
“Our guys didn’t give up,” Mainieri said. “We had a great bottom of the first and second inning, we got within a run at 8-7.”
But unfortunately the bullpen had a catastrophic failure in the fourth and rendered LSU’s gritty comeback attempt moot.
Reliever Theo Millas was called upon to relieve Hill and he pitched relatively well given the circumstances, going 2.2 innings where he only allowed one earned run off three hits and no walks while striking out one. Michael Fowler also pitched well at the end of the game, pitching four scoreless innings where he allowed just a hit and no walks while striking out two.
“I thought Theo Millas did a really nice job and then at the end Michael Fowler did a really nice job,” Mainieri said. “Two freshman pitchers who pitched very well, so there’s some silver lining on a really rough day for us.”
LSU will attempt to wash the game from their memory and tie the series up tomorrow when they host the Golden Eagles at 3:00. The game will be streamed online on SECN+.