All weekend long, Gavin Dugas just couldn't buy a hit. He was getting the barrel on the ball with no luck and was staring a hitless weekend in the face as he approached the batter's box in the sixth inning.
But in baseball, one swing of the bat can change the entire complexion of a game. With LSU's offense stuggling mightily through four innings against a very hot Louisiana Tech squad, a sixth inning grand slam from the junior Dugas was the propellar to a five run inning that ultimately led to an 16-7 win for the purple and gold.
"Coach told me you win this fight, you win this battle and it was somethin we talked about right before the game," Dugas said. "I took that swing and I instantly knew I won my battle and I won my pitch."
The early innings were not favorable to LSU batters not named Dylan Crews. With each passing swing, Crews continues to prove what made him such an electric offensive player coming out of high school. The freshman right fielder went 3-for-4 on the evening, including a solo homerun in the first, his second of the season.
In fact the offense was so cold, that Crews' two hits were the only hits of the game through four innings for the purple and gold. However, the Tigers didn't panic and LSU was able to muster up some offense in the fifth and sixth innings.
The Tigers loaded the bases in both innings as the freshman Crews was able to bring home one run in the fifth but the true explosion took place in the sixth inning. After loading the bases with three straight hits, Dugas came through on his grand slam ball that tied the game.
Freshman third baseman Jordan Thompson put the finishing touches on the monster sixth inning with a solo shot over the left centerfield wall to put the Tigers up 7-6 and never look back. LSU would tack on four runs in the seventh and five more in the eighth on 16 total hits.
"Starting from the beginning there was no panic," Dugas said. "Nobody on our team was freaking out, we always thought we were in it and that's one thing that I love about this team.
"I've been around this game for a long time and that's what happens when someone comes through with a big hit," Mainieri said. "It just loosens up the whole team."
It wasn't the prettiest of starts for LSU's third starter in the rotation AJ Labas. The game unwound for Labas instantly in the third as Louisiana Tech pounded the junior pitcher for seven hits and four runs in the gargantuan inning.
After putting up 18 runs against Air Force on Sunday, the bats stayed hot for LA Tech as Taylor Young blasted his third homerun of the season in just two games as Labas left too many fastballs over the middle of the plate and paid the price.
Labas was yanked in the fifth, not long after surrendering his second homerun of the evening in favor of left hander Javen Coleman with the Tigers trailing 5-1. The lefty Coleman gave LSU 3.2 innings of phenomenal relief pitching, allowing just one run but tossing seven strikeouts on impressive 93 mph velocity throughout his outing.
"I was definitely locked in. I got the call and knew I had to step up and just try and hype my team up," Coleman said. "I just wanted to mow them down and go right at them and that's what I did."
LSU will have a day off Tuesday before traveling to Lafayette for its first road outing of the season against ULL.