LSU Baseball Ends a Five Inning Standoff with a Home Run in the 6th, Then Life in the 8th for a 3-1 Victory Over UTSA in Game One of Three This Weekend
By: Brittney Achord
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA - The Tigers would take game one against UTSA with a 3-1 victory. Five pitchers took the mound for the Tigers on Friday night. Jaden Hill would start and carry the Tigers through the sixth. Aaron George relieved Hill, Devin Fontenot opened for Ka’Khail Hilliard who would be awarded the win for tonight, and Garrett Edwards would come in the game late to close the night out.
It was a tough battle as both teams struggled to generate offense through most of the contest. The Tigers have got to find a way to start hitting the baseball again before SEC play begins next weekend.
1st Inning: Battle of the Mound
Jaden Hill would show that he was all about rebounding from last week's horrible performance as he would get the Roadrunners in order, three up - three down.
The Tigers would have an opportunity to score in the bottom of the inning, unfortunately for the Tigers, Dylan Crews’ 5th steal of the season would be the highlight. Crews would successfully make it to 3rd, but the Tigers struggled to make a bat-to-ball connection, stranding him on base. We would head to the second inning scoreless.
2nd Inning: One, Two, Three Strikes You’re Out!
Two outs, a full count, and the crowd clapping in unison, Hill and the Tigers send the Roadrunners back to the dugout once again scoreless.
The Tigers would struggle again at the plate. Score remained 0 - 0 going into the 3rd.
3rd Inning: So Defensive!
Hill would return to the mound for the Tigers and would relentlessly send the Roadrunners back to the dugout for the third time tonight scoreless.
A single, sacrifice bunt, and taking a hit were not enough for the Tigers this inning as they too headed back to the dugout scoreless.
4th Inning: Where is the Wind When You Need It?
The Roadrunners would mount a threat in the 4th, but Hill and the Tigers would get out of the inning with UTSA leaving two runners on base.
The wind just was just not in the Tigers favor tonight as Cade Beloso and Brody Drost would both hit long balls that would fall within inches of going over the center field wall, as LSU could not get anything going as their hitting struggles would continue on.
5th Inning: The Standoff
Determined not to allow any runs, Hill and the Tigers would handle business again in the 5th keeping UTSA scoreless.
LSU would blow a scoring opportunity leaving two men on base as the scoreless standoff between the Tigers and the Roadrunners would continue into the 6th inning
6th Inning: Over the Wall to Left Field Landing It Goes!
Two up - two down and a fly out to right field would send the Roadrunners right back to the dugout scoreless.
As the American Flag lifted just a bit more than it had all night in the cool breeze, the wind was with Cade Doughty as he sent the ball gliding over the left field wall into the Left Field Landing. With the crowd screaming and cheering “T-I-G-E-R-S”, Doughty had put up his fourth home run of the season and the first score of the night. Tigers 1-0 over UTSA.
7th Inning: Standing Ovation
After 96 pitches and 6 strikeouts, the crowd gave a standing ovation for Jaden Hill and his seven inning shutout. Coach Mainieri would go to the bullpen sending in Aaron George to finish the inning. George would show no mercy to the Roadrunners, holding them scoreless in the 7th.
Six innings of struggle would linger on in the seventh as the Tigers would go three up - three down unable to extend their 1-0 lead.
8th Inning: Let There Be Life
Devan Fontenot would start on the mound in the 8th, but would continue his early season struggles with his pitch location. With two outs and two runners on base, Mainieri would bring in Ma’Khali Hilliard.
UTSA's Ian Bailey would hit a force field to shortstop. The throw to first was off target. Morgan, stretching as far as he could, dropped the ball allowing Shane Sirdashney to find his way home. Hilliard would shut down the inning sending Leyton Barry back to the dugout swinging. We would now head to the bottom of the 8th all tied up at 1-1.
Dylan Crews had the crowd chanting “CREWS” as he hit a fierce single to right field. Morgan kept the energy going as the crowd joined in a game of “GEAUX” “TIGERS” back and forth to each section, taking a hit and advancing to first, sending Crews to 2nd.
With two runners on base and no outs, Doughty would hit the ball to third forcing Crews out. A throwing error advanced Doughty to 2nd and Morgan to 3rd. UTSA would then intentionally walked Beloso.
The crowd would begin to chant “LSU” as Dugas stepped up to the plate for the Tigers. If there were a roof on Alex Box Stadium it would have blown away as Dugas would rip a single bringing in Morgan and Doughty. In LSU fashion, “Callin Baton Rouge” began to play as the crowd sang along and UTSA changed pitchers. The Tigers now lead 3-1.
Garrett Edwards was brought in to close out the night for the Tigers. With two up - two down, the crowd jumped to their feet, cheering, clapping, stomping as strike three ended the night with a Tiger victory! 3-1! Tigers win!
With the win, LSU is now 12-3 on the season. Ma'Khail Hilliard would get the win for the Tigers to improve to 2-0, while Garrett Edwards would record his first save.
“It was a great ball game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “UTSA has a very good hitting team, and their pitching was outstanding tonight. We hit a couple of balls hard with runners in scoring position, but they made some very nice defensive plays. We didn’t swing the bats great, but I attribute some of that to UTSA’s pitching. We gave up the lead in the eighth, but we came right back to score the go-ahead runs, and I’m glad we found a way to win.”
The Tigers will play UTSA in game two of this weekend's three game series on Saturday evening at 6:30pm in Alex Box Stadium.