Da Boot Sports
By: David Penn
Baton Rouge, LA - LSU Baseball Coach Jay Johnson got in a stance behind home plate as retired LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri threw out the first pitch at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field on Friday night and officially kicked off the Jay Johnson era in Baton Rouge. Coach Manieiri drew a standing ovation from the crowd as he took the mound to officially pass the torch to Jay Johnson.
After not traveling with the team for the post season last year, Blake Money (1-0) earned the start for the Tigers after an offseason that reshaped his physical fitness and his mechanics. Money would strike out four of the first six batters and a career high of ten Ks through seven scoreless innings allowing only one walk. Money threw 56 strikes out of 79 pitches against 18 balls. The sophomore looked comfortable on the bump and was efficient through his outing.
Johnson said, “Blake was fantastic tonight and demonstrated why we gave him the opportunity to start the season opener. He has worked extremely hard to get to this point, and I’m honestly not surprised by how well he performed. He’s pitched this way beginning in fall practice and throughout the preseason.”
Redshirt Brayden Jobert got the offense started in the 4th inning with a solo homerun. Jacob Berry would then single in the
5th inning to score Tre’ Morgan.
The Tigers would add three more runs in the 6th inning with Alex Milazzo hitting a single to bring in Jordan Thompson. Tre Morgan would then hit a two run triple scoring Milazzo and Jack Merrifield.
LSU would plate three more runs in the 7th inning when Dylan Crews scored on a sacrifice fly by Jobert. Thompson would then single to right scoring Cade Doughty. Next, Thompson scored on errors after Giovanni DiGiacomo grounded out and Maine’s 1st baseman would overthrow second, followed by the left fielder mishandling the ball, allowing Thompson to turn third and head home.
LSU added five more in the 8th inning. Doughty smacked a double, scoring Morgan and Josh Pearson. Josh Stevenson would then ground out to first base scoring Crews. DiGiacomo capped off the scoring for LSU with a double scoring Jobert and Doughty.
Maine would get on the board in the ninth inning on a solo homerun by Scout Knotts which would provide the finish to the scoring as LSU impressively wins their season opener, and starts the Jay Johnson era off with a 13-1 victory.
Brett Erwin (0-1) started for Maine and gave up two runs - one unearned, seven Ks and one base on balls. The Maine defense committed six errors, three of which occurred when Tre’ Morgan was on the base pads and the two on one play that allowed a run for LSU to come in.
LSU (1-0) and Maine (0-1) will face off again on Saturday, February 19th for game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm CT at Alex Box Stadium. Senior RHP Ma’Khail Hilliard will start for the Tigers.
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi