Matthew Beck hadn't pitched in a game since Feb. 24 so when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning against Southern, everyone was astounded. What Beck did next was even more staggering.
The senior No. 8 blasted an opposite field single to right field much to the delight of everyone watching in the stadium and at home. It was the highlight moment in what was an otherwise routine win for the Tigers, who knocked off Southern 10-2.
Mainieri had hinted to Beck that he wanted to get him an at bat at some point before the season ended and with the Tigers running out of pinch hitters at the end of the game, all the stars alligned.
LSU's offense was able to carry over the midweek success it's had in recent weeks to the Southern game on Monday. The Tigers scored runs in three of the first four innings with the bottom of the order accounting for most of the damage.
Second baseman Drew Bianco, who's playing his best ball of the season, lasered a two run homer in the fourth to account for two of the runs while catcher Alex Milazzo recorded the first triple of his career which also brought in a run. The Tigers have been a strikeout prone team at times this season but weren't fooled by many of the Jaguars' pitchers, striking out a total of four times on the evening.
LSU really separated itself in the fifth inning thanks to smart baserunning as the Tigers were able to load the bases and Jordan Thompson came through with a sacrifice fly. Cade Beloso added a single to right field that resulted in three runs to separate the Tigers 8-2.
It certainly wasn't the cleanest pitching performace for LSU, a staff that entering the Southern game had allowed just two runs over its previous four midweek outings. Will Hellmers allowed a pair of hits but was able to go 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball and was followed up by scoreless innings from Javen Coleman and Michael Fowler.
But Fowler was knocked around a bit in the fifth inning, surrendering a pair of runs after issuing a pair of free passes via walk and a hit batter. It's been a trend in recent games to use the freshmen arms in midweek games and that carried over as five of the eight pitchers LSU threw were freshmen. All pitchers were able to throw scoreless innings in the work given to secure the win.
LSU will now travel to Auburn for a road series starting Thursday as the Tigers look to gain some traction in the SEC standings.
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.