By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA: The SEC is loaded with powerhouse baseball teams this season and it seems like the schedule gets tougher each weekend for the Tigers. Last weekend LSU was swept by #9 Tennessee in Knoxville. This weekend they take on the #1 ranked team in the country, the Vanderbilt Commodores for a three game series at Alex Box Stadium. The young Tigers will be looking to rebound against the two top pitchers not only in the SEC, but in the country. Projected MLB #1 overall draft pick Kumar Rocker (6-0) will take the mound tonight for Vandy, while LSU will throw Landon Marceaux (2-2)...
But the Tigers would fall hard to the Commodores 13-1 Thursday night. Kumar Rocker dominated the LSU bats for seven innings, then Sam Hliboki would easily finish things up as the Tigers continue to have no answer for their struggles at the plate.
Marceaux pitched a decent game for five innings, keeping LSU within striking distance, but once he would run out of gas, the pull pen would again step in and lack production.
The Commodores would go quickly and quietly, three up-three down as Landon Marceaux pitched a great inning getting each batter to ground out...
Will Stafford would manage a single for the Tigers and then steal his first base of the season, but would be stranded at second base...
Marceaux would again take the mound and pitch well with his second straight three up-three down inning...
The Tigers would go three up-three down quietly in the bottom of the second as the big 6'5" 250lbs Rocker looked to finally settle in to pitch a strong inning.
Isaiah Thomas would lead off the 3rd for the Commodores with a triple to left field. After getting the next batter to ground out, Marceaux would give up a single to center field by Jayson Gonzalez, scoring Thomas to give Vandy a 1-0 lead. The Dores would manage another base runner from a base on balls, but would leave them both on stranded as Marceaux would do a great job to get out of the jam to end the top of the inning.
Rocker would again take the Tigers down in order, three up-three down...
Marceaux would rebound from last inning's scare with a solid showing in the top of the 4th, quickly sitting down the Commodores hitters, three up-three down...
Kumar Rocker would respond with another three up-three down inning as he would continue to keep the LSU bats very quiet.
Marceaux would begin the inning by hitting the lead off batter. Cooper Davis would advance the runner, Thomas to second on a fielders choice. Gonzalez would then rip a double to right field to score Thomas.
Enrique Bradfield would then single to left field. Carter Young would step up to the plate next and lay down a perfect slow rolling bunt down the third base line that would stay fair to reach first base safely, loading the bases.
A single by Dominic Keegan would push two more runs across the plate for Vandy. Jack Bulger would step up to the plate next and hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field to allow Young who was on third to tag up and score.
Gavin Dugas would make the final out as he would make a fantastic running catch, banging into the wall. We would head to the bottom of 5th inning with Vanderbilt up, 5-0.
The Tigers would be unable to get anything going, as they would strand Jordan Thompson at second after he would hit a two out double.
Marceaux would stay in the game to start the 6th, but would continue to struggle. The Commodores would lead off with back to back singles. Cooper Davis would then ground out to advance the runners to second and third. Gonzalez would step up to the plate next and draw a base on balls, loading the bases.
Bradfield would reach first safely on a bunt to the pitcher, also scoring a run from third base. Carter Young would then reach first base safely on a fielder's choice, scoring another run on a throwing error by Tre' Morgan.
Mainieri would decide to go to the bullpen, bringing in Ma'Khail Hilliard to replace Landon Marceaux.
With the bases loaded and only one out, Keegan would rip a double to left field off of Hilliard to plate two more runs. The Tigers would finally manage to stop the bleeding getting the final two outs to send us to the bottom of the 6th inning with Vandy now leading 9-0.
Tre' Morgan would hit a one out single and then advance to second on a groundout by Will Stafford. Dylan Crews would then step to the plate and bring Morgan home with a single to left field. The Tigers would leave Crews stranded on base as we would head to the 7th inning with Vandy now on top, 9-1.
Vandy would plate two more runs in the top of the inning as Hilliard would issue a leadoff walk, followed by a double and then a single.. The Tigers would manage to turn a double play to get out of the inning with no more damage done. 11-1 Vanderbilt...
Sam Hliboki would come in to relieve Rocker on the mound to start the bottom of the 7th. The LSU batters would have no luck against Hliboki either as they would go down, three up-three down in order...
Jacob Hasty would start the top of the 8th for the Tigers and would face four batter, allowing no runs, while Vandy would strand a runner on third...
LSU would quietly go down three up-three down to end the 8th inning....
After getting the leadoff hitter to ground out, Davis would step up and single to right field, then Gonzalez would draw a walk. Bradfield would reach first base safely after Hasty would throw the ball away trying to get the out at first, scoring Davis on the throwing error.
Young would then step up to the plate and single to right, bringing Gonzalez home to score.
Hasty would finally register the final two outs to send us mercifully to the bottom of the 9th with the Commodores leading, 13-1.
Hliboki would quickly take care of the Tigers, three up-three down to earn an impressive 13-1 blowout win over LSU...
"It certainly was a disappointing night; Vanderbilt has a great ball club and they took advantage of every opportunity that we gave them,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We take a lot of pride in wearing the LSU uniform and in representing the great legacy of this program in the best way possible, so we’re going to come out tomorrow and give it everything we have to compete at a high level.”
With the loss LSU is now 17-9 and 1-6 in the SEC. This is the Tigers worse start in the SEC since 1969.
Kumar Rocker (7-0) went six innings, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts, firing 89 pitches.
LSU starter Landon Marceaux (2-3) was charged with the loss, as he gave up eight earned runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Next up the Tigers will host Vanderbilt on Saturday night for game two of the series beginning at 8:00pm. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Photos Below By: David Chivatero