It's been a frustrating 48 hours for LSU baseball. The Tigers were coming off sweep in Knoxville to fall to 1-5 in SEC play and weren't allowed to practice on Monday for rest purposes. Facing four games in five days, coach Paul Mainieri said it was important for each and every player to come back to the baseball facility on Tuesday with a renewed sense of urgency and a clear mind on the task at hand.
On Tuesday evening, a struggling Tigers' offense and pitching staff took all of their pent up frustrations out on South Alabama, putting the game away early and winning 11-1.
"It's good to get back in the win column," Mainieri said. "They gave us several free passes and our guys got us off to a good start with some clutch hits."
It was a performance this team desperately needed as the purple and gold hung one run in the first, six in the second and one more in the third helped the Tigers leap out to an early 8-0 lead. Patience at the plate and help from the South Alabama pitching staff contributed to the early success as eight batters were walked and most importantly, the batters were able to capitalize on the free baserunners.
Clutch hitting from Gavin Dugas, Cade Doughty and Cade Beloso attributed to six of the eight runs to come across in the first third of the game. It was a welcomed sight to see the offense capitalize with runners on base as that was an area the group left a lot to be desired in the three losses against Tennessee.
All but two LSU starters picked up at least one hit, with Dylan Crews leading the way with a 2-for-5 day with a home run and four RBI while Doughty added two more hits with three RBI.
On the mound, freshman Will Hellmers got the night started with two scoreless innings and fellow freshman Blake Money followed suit with two more scoreless innings. Both were aided by great defensive plays from Dugas, Crews and Will Safford in the outfield but also threw 37 of 57 pitches for strikes.
The staff as a whole looked great as South Alabama didn't record a hit until the fifth inning and was limited to just one run on four hits throughout the entire evening.
LSU will now gear up for No. 1 Vanderbilt on a short week with Landon Marceaux on the mound Thursday and the offense facing the top two prospects in this year's draft in Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker.
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.