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Hilliard Saves Rough Start, Tigers Beat Texas Southern 10-4

LSU Athletics

If you’ve followed LSU baseball with any regularity over the last decade, you know that when LSU is playing a 5 game week with 2 midweek games, and one of those games is against a SWAC or other particularly weak OOC foe, the focus on the field can be somewhat...lacking. The was certainly the case tonight as LSU and Texas Southern spent the first few innings doing little to honor the game.

LSU starter Javen Coleman had retired the first two batters, one with a strikeout, before beginning to quickly lose control. He gave up 2 walks and two singles with an RBI before escaping further damage with a fly out to deep center. In the bottom of the 1st, a returning Cade Doughty struck back with a 2 run homer to left, taking back the lead.

After a quiet 2nd, things really unraveled for both teams in the 3rd. Blake Money faced the minimum in the 2nd, but after striking out the leadoff man in the 3rd, began to lose his accuracy, and didn’t get much assistance from backup catcher Jake Wyeth. A sequence of double-wild pitch-walk-strikeout-walk loaded the bases for TSU, then an RBI single-passed ball-HBP by Money and a wild pitch by Ma’Khail Hilliard brought in 3 runs and Texas Southern reclaimed the lead.

It would prove to be a rough night for both team’s catchers, though, as LSU reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the 3rd. LSU scored on ground out RBI, RBI double, and Gavin Dugas scoring from third on one of three wild pitches in the bottom half of the inning.

Hilliard started the 4th on the mound and returned to form after his rough weekend appearance against Oral Roberts, going 3.1 IP, with no walks, 5 Ks, and facing the minimum in the 4th, 5th, and 6th. Meanwhile, 2 more wild pitches for TSU in the 4th put 2 in scoring position to be brought home on a Tre’ Morgan RBI double, expanding the LSU lead to 7-4.

Devin Fontenot started the 7th in trouble with back-to-back lead of walks, but recovered with a ground out to 1st and 2 strikeouts. Aaron George and Jacob Hasty had quiet nights following him in relief.

LSU added insurance in the 8th with a 2 RBI triple from Morgan and a sack fly from Doughty that pushed the lead to the final score of 10-4.

Dylan Crews ended the night with a spectacular catch in foul territory in the 9th that’s going to make some end of year highlight reels.

LSU heads to The Lakefront for game 2 of this 5 game week to face off against Blake Dean’s UNO Privateers at 630pm. LSU says this game will air on Cox Sports, but currently it is also listed for a nationwide stream on ESPN+. Which is true? Who can say?