No. 11 LSU Takes Care of Business With 7-1 Midweek Win Over Louisiana Tech
On a night where the cool night air was blowing in, LSU was able to find the holes and take advantage of a sloppy Louisiana Tech performance to win its third straight game 7-1.
It didn't take long for the LSU (6-3) offense to chase Louisiana Tech starting pitcher Greg Martinez out of the game.
Martinez allowed four runs on three hits with two walks in his three recorded outs as the Tigers led 4-0 after two innings and never looked back.
The LSU offense was balanced on Wednesday night as six different players went for hits, including shortstop Collier Cranford, who recorded his first career hit in the third inning. The Tigers were led by first baseman Cade Beloso and left fielder Maurice Hampton, who each blasted a couple of RBI singles a piece for four of the Tigers seven runs.
Hampton's 2-for-2 performance that included a walk saw his batting average improve from .222 to .300 overnight. His offensive performance may have over shadowed his defensive effort as he chased down multiple tough fly balls with the wind howling all night.
"Maurice was amazing tonight I mean some of those balls he ran down in the outfield, you don't see that too often in college baseball," Mainieri said. "He came through with two really clutch hits with two strikes against him, I thought he played a terrific game.
"He works hard, he has a lot of pride, he competes, I mean he's got everything. I'm just glad he's with us. To do what he's done so far is pretty amazing."
It's easy to remember that just six weeks ago, Hampton was winning a national championship in football. After months of only swinging a bat on Sunday's during the fall, it's taken him some time to find a groove in the spring but he finally feels like he's starting to get back in a rhythm.
"It's not been easy but the coaches have been working with me, helping me get extra work in so I feel like I've gained a lot of ground but still have a lot to go," Hampton said. "The game's definitely slowing down with the more games I get, the more reps I get, I feel like I get better and better."
Leadoff hitter Zack Mathis also had a phenomenal day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with an RBI against the Bulldogs. Mathis has been great since making the full time jump as LSU's leadoff hitter, going 6-for-11 at the plate in his three starts.
"I feel like I can be pretty aggressive in the leadoff spot and that's kind of my game anyways," Mathis said. It's almost simpler for me because I don't have to wait for the guys to get on. I can just go up right away anf get my hacks in."
What really helped the LSU offense break free early were the five errors the Bulldogs committed on the night and the aggressive nature it showed on the bags. Four times the Tigers reached base off of a Louisiana Tech error and five times the LSU baserunners successfully stole a base.
The LSU pitching staff also had a great midweek outing as coach Paul Mainieri used eight pitchers on the night to complete a four hit, one run outing.
Starter Brandon Kaminer got the night started with two innings of one hit, scoreless baseball that allowed the offense to get an early head start of its own. The only blemish came in the sixth with Eric Walker at pitcher as the junior allowed two hits and a run in his one inning on the mound.
No pitcher after Kaminer went longer than 1.1 innings as Trent Vietemeier, Matthew Beck, Jacob Hasty, Aaron George, Nick Storz and Devin Fontenot all pitched scoreless innings. Of the eight pitchers used, only two walks were thrown with six strikeouts.
The Tigers are now off to Houston for a three game series for the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, where they will take on Texas, Baylor and No. 15 Oklahoma.
"Overall it was a good win to start a tough week," Mainieri said. "Louisiana Tech has a great ball club and obviously this was a good way to start the week."