By: Jordan Taylor
Da Boot Sports!
BATON ROUGE: LSU (2-1), would play host to the Southern Jaguars (2-2), on a gloomy afternoon at Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. The Tigers will start LHP, Brandon Kaminer, while Southern will throw, LHP, Khristian Paul. Coach Paul Mainieri is immediately starting to throw together some new looks on defense to see what he can rely on going forward as five of the nine positions have been flipped or subbed in. LSU and Southern split their series a year ago 1-1. So in less than a week LSU Baseball meets the Big Ten & SWAC champion from a year ago.
The left handed throwing Brandon Kaminer came out blazing, getting the first two batters out on three pitches, but then found trouble with a 4 pitch walk, but battled out of it and Southern would leave a runner stranded.
Daniel Cabrera continues to prove why he was the obvious lead off for this team as the junior started the bottom of the inning with a double to right center. Cade Doughty would see just two pitches and quickly line out to left field. A patient Zack Mathis would draw a five pitch walk. putting runners one first and second. Then Saul Garz would step up to the plate with a RBI opportunity, but would roll over into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
Back to work, Kaminer would go with a four pitch strike out to begin the top of the second. The next batter would hit a soft ground ball to Doughty at 3rd, but a wild throw to first would let Bubba Thompson reach safely. Brad Jenkings stepped in and cranked a single to center field. First pitch after the error/single would be a wild throw that would move both runners up into scoring position. Southern would have a RBI opportunity and would come through, with a bloop single to right as the Jags would take the 1-0 lead, with runners moving to first and third with only one out. The 9th batter in the line up, Frankie Montesino would then deliver a sac fly to left field to give Southern a 2-0 lead. Kaminer would get out the inning with a fly out to Hampton in center.
LSU would start the bottom of the inning looking to dig out of an early hole, would send 5, 6, and 7 in their order to the plate. Red hot Cade Beloso step up and would pop up to first base for out number one. Maurice Hapton Jr would see his first plate appearance, but would ground out back to the pitcher for out number two. Freshman Catcher Alex Milazzo steps up with a two out single to left, but the next batter, Drew Bianco would ground out to end the inning.
LSU would close the book on starter Brandon Kaminer, as his first start of the season was not what pitching coach Alan Dunn had in mind. The call to the pen would bring in hard throwing right hander, Ma’Khail Hilliard to begin the 3rd inning. Hilliard would make quick work of the first batter he faced by sending Javonte Dorrias packing with a strike out. Hilliard got into some trouble with walking the next batter, then would throw a wild pitch sending the runner into scoring position at second. Davis would then ground out for a fielder’s choice as the Tigers would go 6-5-4 to get the lead out. Hilliard would then find a ground ball pitch to get out the inning with a 3-1 putout.
Mykel Page would be back out for his second inning of work and would lead off the bottom of the inning by drilling Gavin Dugas with a pitch, sending him to first base. The Tigers would get back to the top of their line up as Daniel Cabrera worked the count to get a free pass. The walk would put two runners on base with no outs. Cade Doughty would fly out for out number one, as Cabrera would move up on the tag. With runners on the corners Zach Mathis, the transfer out of California, would step up to the plate. Dugas would steal on a breaking ball in the dirt, setting up runners on second and third. Zack would come through with a RBI sacrifice fly to left field that would score Cabrera to make it 2-1 Southern. Saul Garza stepped in and would deliever a RBI single to center field, sending Dugas charging home to tie the game up at 2-2. The hits kept rolling as Cade Beloso would line a RBI triple just out of the reach of the right fielder to score Garza, giving LSU their first lead of the game, 3-2. Maurice Hampton would step into the box next, but would hit it a hard shot straight to the short stop for the 6-3 put out to end the inning.
Mainieri would bring in sophomore RHP Nick Storz to start the fourth inning. The Jags tried to catch the tigers sleeping and on the first pitch as Bubba Thompson would lay down a bunt for a single. On the next pitch, Southern would attempt a second straight bunt, the sacrifice would work as the runner would advance to second base. Nick Storz would work ahead in the count and would get a ground ball, 4-3 for out number two. The Jaguar runner would advance to third on the play. A four pitch walk would keep the inning alive for Southern as runners hit the corners with two outs. The Tigers would get out the inning with a ground ball to Mathis for the force at second 6-4.
Alex Milazzo would fly out to center field to begin the bottom half of the fourth inning. Drew Bianco would follow with a pop up to the third baseman for out number two. Just when the Jags thought they were going to have a quick inning and get back in the dugout, Gavin Dugas says hello to the left field score board with his first home run of the season to extend the Tigers the lead to 4-2. The Jags would then elect to pitch careful to Cabrera, walking him to first base. Doughty would ground out to end the inning.
Back to his second inning of work, Nick Storz would strike out the first batter up on three pitches. With very minimum pitches thrown, he would then get the next two Jaguars to fly out for a 3 up-3 down inning.
Zack Mathis would lead off the bottom of the inning by ripping a single to right field. Then on a wild pitch would move up to second base. DH, Saul Garza would then hit a towering two run bomb to left field for his second home run of the season to give the Tigers a 6-2 lead.
Nick Storz would continue to pitch well into his third inning, facing only four Jaguars at the plate, retiring three straight after giving up a lead off single.
Gavin Dugas would lead off for the Tigers, drawing a five pitch walk to begin the bottom half of the 6th. in steps Mathis who would single, setting up runners on the corners. Garza would then step up and slice a RBI single right by the outstretched glove of the short stop to give the Tigers a 7-2 lead.
Senior Mathew Beck would relieve Nick Stroz to start the seventh inning. Beck would face only four Southern batters, sending us to the 7th inning stretch. #0
After Southern would record two quick outs, Drew Bianco would keep the inning alive by drawing a walk, then stealing second on a pitch in the dirt. Dugas would walk, putting two runners on, as the top of the Tigers line up would role up. However, the Tigers would leave them stranded, as Daniel Cabrera would fly out to end the seventh inning.
Beck would only face four Southern batters at the plate, as he would send the game in to the bottom of the 8th inning quickly.
Southern would manage to record outs against the first two Tigers to come up to the plate. Then Hayden Travinski would be inserted to pinch hit for Saul Garza. Travinski would respond with a thundering loud solo homerun to right field to extend LSU's lead to 8-2, as we would head to the final inning of the ball game.
Soph Chase Costello will take over on the mound in the 9th to try and close things out. But the Jaguars would show some fight as Derek Mayes would lead off with a double. Jahil Hendricks would then single to right field to put runners on the corners. Costello would then issue a walk to load the bases. Southern would manage to push a run across the plate before the Tigerswould retire the side and end the ball game with a 8-3 victory. Ma’Khail Hilliard (1-0), would earn the win fir the Tigers. Mainieri would use five arms tonight. LSU used the long ball tonight and emptied the bench to get guys in the line up to gain some game experience. With the win LSU is now 3-1.
Next up, LSU will travel to Thibodaux on Wednesday to take on Nicholls State, before they return back home to the Box for a three game weekend series with Eastern Kentucky.