Despite picking up a huge road series win at Ole Miss this past weekend, the Tigers tripped and face planted at the finish line on Sunday, blowing a 9-1 lead had the potential to erase all of the psychological progress LSU had appeared to make over the series. Fortunately, there was little sign of any lingering damage as LSU shutout Grambling 7-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
LSU’s history in midweek games against clearly inferior opponents is far from stellar. Grambling, coming into town with a 3-14 out-of-conference record, was not going to be a challenge on paper, and the Bayou Bengals often come into these games lacking motivation, which often leads to games being much closer than they should be or even stunning upset losses. But that was not present on Tuesday as LSU played focused, efficient baseball and seemed to get the bad taste of Sunday out of their mouths.
LSU kept up their improvements at the plate, getting 12 hits and 4 walks on Grambling pitching with only 3 strikeouts. Jordan Thompson started the scoring with a single shot home run to left, his 7th of the year. After a two run second, LSU batted around in the fourth using five hits, a walk, and a sac fly to move runs around the dish, growing the lead to 6-0. Gavin Dugas was out of the lineup due to some back spasms (Mainieri seems confident he won’t be out long) which gave Brody Drost a start in left field, and he made the most of it. Drost was 2-3 at the plate, turned a single into two bases with heads up running on an error in right field, and punctuated the night with a home run in the 7th that gave LSU their 60th bomb of the season and the 7-0 final score.
Ma’Khail Hilliard had an efficient and focused start, giving up just one hit and striking out five in his three innings of work. Seven pitchers worked the rest of the night in his relief, giving up just a combined three walks and four hits, with seven more strikeouts. Opponent aside, holding on to the shutout was exactly what you wanted to see out of the troubled bullpen.
LSU sits on the bubble in most NCAA projections, but nothing would fix that more than pulling an upset against #1 Arkansas this coming weekend. If there were any lingering doubts after the collapse at Ole Miss, the Tigers appear to have put it out of their minds.