By: Mike Lanclos
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA: The LSU Tigers had a rough night trying to get base hits as they were defeated by Mississippi St. on Friday night, 6-1.
Bulldog pitchers Christian MacLeod and Brandon Smith both handcuffed the LSU hitters all night long, as the Tigers would go three up-three down in order in six of their at bats in the contest.
Jaden Hill actually pitched a solid ball game for the Tigers through seven innings, only throwing two bad back to back pitches all night. Two pitches that cost him dearly.
The game would move along rather quickly through the first four innings as both teams would stay would stay scoreless.
In the fifth inning the Bulldogs would get things going as Josh Hatcher would lead off hitting the ball to the deep left field corner, with a standup double. The next batter for the Bulldogs, Brayland Skinner would hit a two run homerun over the right field wall to put State up 2-0. Hill would settle down and get the next three hitters out to get the Tigers out of the inning.
LSU would finally answer in the bottom of the sixth, as Cade Doughty, with two outs, was able to reach first base safely on a high pop fly into shallow right field, where Bulldog defenders would miss-communicate and watched the ball hit the ground between two defenders. Doughty would then score as Gavin Dugas would rip a double to right field to make the score 2-1 Mississippi State. It would appear that LSU would finally have woken up their offense. But that would end up only to be an allusion as the struggles would continue on.
The Bulldogs would plate another run in the top of the seventh. Logan Tanner would draw a leadoff walk followed by a double to left field by Josh Hatcher that appeared would score Tanner. But in one of the few highlights of the night for the Tigers, Gavin Dugas relay the ball quicly into Jordan Thompson, who would make a perfect throw to Catcher Hayden Travinski. Travinski would had to step to the left side of the plate, stretched out and tagged Tanner out at home plate.
Brayland Skinner would kill the LSU surge of energy quickly as he would send a hard single up the middle, scoring Hatcher to make the score, 3-1 Bulldogs.
It's here in the top of the 8th inning where Hill would run out of gas, giving up three straight singles to load the bases, before finally getting the first out, then being replaced by Ma'Khail Hilliard.
Hilliard would have his hands full with the bases loaded and would surrender a couple of hits that would allow State to plate three more runs. We would head to the 9th inning with LSU now trailing, 6-1.
Hilliard would quietly take care of the State hitters in the 9th keeping them from adding anymore insurance runs to their lead.
There would be no come back for the Tigers as Bulldogs closer Brandon Smith would have no trouble
ending the contest with a three up-three down inning
“I thought overall it was a well-played game by both teams,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Both starting pitchers were really good; I thought Jaden competed hard and did a lot of great things, and the relief pitching on both sides was good as well. MacLeod’s got unbelievable numbers, and you can see why. He’s a crafty guy who mixes all three pitches well and keeps hitters off balance. When the wind is blowing in the way it was tonight, it’s hard for your hitters to be confident, because even if you crush a ball you know it’s not going to go anywhere in the wind. But that’s no excuse, we’ve got to hit better, so we’ll turn the page and come out ready for tomorrow.”
With the loss LSU falls to 15-4 overall and 0-1 in the SEC, while #2 Mississippi State improves to 15-3 and 1-0 in SEC play. Jaden Hill would get the loss for the contest as his record would fall to 2-2 on the season.
Both teams will meet again on Saturday night at 6:30pm at Alex Box Stadium for game two of the series.
Photos Below By: Michael Bacigalupi
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes