A day after news broke that LSU starting rotation pitcher Jaden Hill would be out for the rest of the season with a ulnar collateral ligament tear, which itself followed a three-game sweep at home to Vanderbilt to cement LSU’s worst start to conference play since 1969, LSU got what they needed the most: a win.
The Tigers posted a pretty standard, by-the-numbers, uneventful 14-1 blowout win over the Cowboys Tuesday night, which is a welcome site for the Tigers.
“I thought we played a really good game, we got off to a good start early,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “We got to have a little fun playing the game again. So, it was a nice lift for the team, they deserved it. I was happy that they got to win a ball game and enjoyed playing baseball.”
With Hill out for the rest of the season, Tuesday night served as a de facto audition for the newly vacated spot in the weekend rotation. As such, Garrett Edwards and Will Hellmers both threw two innings.
Edwards allowed two hits but didn’t allow a run while striking out three. Hellmers didn’t allow a hit and also struck out three, but walked two Cowboys.
“Well I though Garrett Edwards threw well,” Mainieri said. “Obviously I wanted to see how he’d look. Blake Money is certainly a candidate as well. (LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn) and I will talk about it tomorrow and come up with a little bit of a plan. But I’m sure we’re going to take it one game at a time this weekend.”
LSU (18-11) opened the scoring in the second inning where they scored a run on a two-out double from Giovanni DiGiacomo and then came back in the fourth inning to hang five runs on McNeese.
Jordan Thompson and Cade Doughty had back-to-back RBI singles following a leadoff single from Gavin Dugas and a Brody Drost hit-by-pitch, and DiGiacomo picked up his second RBI on the night with a groundout. Dylan Crews then came through with a two-RBI single to put LSU ahead 6-0.
Cade Doughty led the Tigers with a 4-for-5 night with four RBI and a run scored, including a two-RBI double in the fifth inning and another RBI double in the eighth inning.
Doughty’s stellar performance came on a night where he was moved down to sixth in the lineup, but according to him that wasn’t a factor in his offensive surge.
“I don’t really think it changed my mindset at all,” Doughty said. “I’m just going up there trying to execute and get a pitch to handle. I was able to do that tonight. Wherever they need me to be, I’ll gladly be there and try to get the job done.
McNeese (14-14) avoided the shutout in the top of the sixth with a solo home run from Nate Fisbeck, but Hayden Travinski responded with a solo leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning to get the run back.
The Tigers bust the game wide open in the eighth inning, batting around and scoring five runs off four hits, anchored by a Mitchell Sanford two-RBI triple.
“We came out and played a good ballgame,” Mainieri said. “And that gets us ready and in a positive frame of mind to go to Lexington this weekend and get ready to take on the Wildcats.”
“It’s a win and a game in the correct column in the overall record. Let’s get ready for an SEC series and see if we can put a dent in that SEC record.”
Game one of the Kentucky series will state at 5:30 P.M. and will be broadcast online on SECN+ and over the radio on 98.1 FM.