Behind seven innings of scoreless, two-hit work that featured 10 Blake Money strikeouts, the LSU baseball team opened up both the 2022 season and the Jay Johnson era with a bang beating Maine 13-1.
Prior to the game Johnson received the ceremonial first pitch from Paul Mainieri, just as Mainieri received the first pitch from Skip Bertman to open the 2007 season.
Throwing of the torch I mean first pitch pic.twitter.com/0grIzVn3Gu— Brody Miller (@BrodyAMiller) February 19, 2022
From there Friday night under the lights turned into the Blake Money show as the sophomore had the game of his young LSU career. Money struck out 10 in seven innings and pounded the strike zone all night long throwing 56 of his 79 pitches for strikes. It’s one game against Maine but if this new-look Money is the guy we’ll get for all of 2022 we should maybe start looking at hotels in Omaha.
“Blake was fantastic tonight and demonstrated why we gave him the opportunity to start the season opener,” Jay Johnson said. “He was worked extremely hard to get to this point, and I’m honestly not surprised by how well he performed. He’s pitched this way beginning in fall practice and throughout the preseason.”
Jay Johnson was brought to LSU to turn the Tigers lineup into a Death Star and so far the mission’s been accomplished. JUCO transfer Brayden Jobert—in for Cade Beloso who bizarrely injured his hamstring prior to the game—scored the first run of the 2022 season with a home run to right in the fourth inning; Jobert would tack on a second RBI in the seventh inning with a sac fly to center that scored sophomore outfielder Dylan Crews. Jobert mashed 16 home runs at Delgado last year and now he’s mashing homers in his first game as a Tiger.
BRAYDEN JOBERT— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) February 19, 2022
▪️First HR as a Tiger
▪️First HR of the season
▪️Tigers on the board
Tre’ Morgan would blow the game open in the sixth with a two-run triple to up LSU’s lead from 3-0 to 5-0. Morgan, batting leadoff, went 3-5 with two RBIs and scored two runs to begin his sophomore campaign.
Tre’ Triple— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) February 19, 2022
From there the lineup took turns lighting up the Alex Box scoreboard and showed why so many are high on LSU: 1-9 can all drive runs. For example, Cade Doughty and Gio DiGiacomo, coming in off the bench, each hit two-run doubles in the eighth as part of a five-run inning.
Redshirt sophomore Bryce Collins, who followed Jay Johnson from Arizona, pitched for the first time in two years and closed out the game for LSU. He was okay striking out three in two innings but did allow a pair of hits including a home run in the ninth to end the shutout bid. Still it was his first game in two years and had a 13-run cushion to work with, he’ll be fine.
Game two is set for 1:30 Saturday afternoon. Ma’Khail Hilliard will go up against Maine’s Noah Lewis.