By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA:: The Tigers (1-0) return to action on Sunday afternoon as they again would play host to Air Force (0-1) at The Box. LSU opened up their 2021 season with a 6-1 victory over the Falcons on Saturday. As expected LSU's pitching was phenomenal ringing up 14 strikeout, but the Tigers lacked production at the plate. Air Force walked 11 LSU batters and the Tigers ended up stranding 15 runners on base. Hopefully this young LSU team will improve offensively so the all important timely hit will become a often occurrence.
Air Force lead off batter Blake Covin would start the 1st inning off with a slow dribbling bunt towards third base. A tough defensive play, as Covin would beat out the throw. The Tigers would then turn two on a nice double play from 2nd (Cade Doughty) to 1st base (Tre' Morgan). Marceaux would get a pop out to right field for the final out.
Falcons pitcher John Barnes would make quick work of the first two LSU batters as Dylan Crews
would foul out to the 1st baseman, followed by a pop up to 2nd base by Cade Doughty. Tre' Morgan would draw a walk, then steal 2nd base to set up LSU's first scoring opportunity. Cade Beloso would then advance to 1st base on a hit pitch. With runners on 1st and 2nd and two down, Gavin Dugas would be unable to move the runners as he would strike out swinging to end the 1st inning.... LSU would once again leave runners on base.
Marceaux would put the Falcons down in order, three up-three down while registering his first strike out in the process.
Giovanni DiGiacomo would start the bottom of the 2nd inning with a bang as he would hit a deep well hit fly ball to right field just out of the reach of the Air Force out fielder. The ball would bounce and roll into the corner. DiGiacomo would end up with a beautiful lead off, stand up triple. After a Will Hellmers fly out, Drew Bianco would ground out, but bring in DiGiacomo to plate the first run of the ball game. Alex Milazzo would strike out to end the 2nd inning with LSU up 1-0.
Landon Marceaux would continue to pitch at a high level as he again would sit the Falcons, three up-three down, with a quick ground out and two more strike outs...
Dylan Crews would lead off the bottom of the inning with a nice single to left field. Cade Doughty would then reach 1st base on a fielders choice. Tre' Morgan would step up to the plate and ignite the crowd with a RBI double to deep left field, scoring Doughty from 1st. Beloso and Dugas would each fly out to end the inning, LSU up 2-0.
Air Force would get it going in the top of the fourth with some help from a couple of LSU errors. Covin would single right over short stop for a single to left field. Covin would then steal his first base of the season ending up on 2nd. Gabriel Garcia would reach 1st base safely on a throwing error. Then a ground out would advance Garcia to 3rd base while scoring Covin. Garcia would then score from 3rd base on a LSU throwing error to tie the game at 2-2.
The Tigers were unable to make any noise in the bottom of the 4th inning, as Hellmers would draw a one out walk, then advance to 2nd on a wild pitch, but would be left on base to end the inning.
Marceaux would put the Flacons down quietly in order, three up- three down in the 5th..
John Barnes would continue to pitch a solid game for Air Force as LSU's woes at the plate continued on. Barnes would hit Morgan to put him on 1st base, then Morgan would advance to 2nd on a wild pitch, but the Tigers would strand him there. We would head to the 6th inning still tied up at 2-2.
Ma'Khail Hilliard would relieve Marceaux to start the 6th inning. Blake Covin would continue to be a thorn in the Tigers side as he would lead off the inning with a single up the middle. After a fly out, Covin would steal 2nd base safely and would then score on a LSU throwing error. Hilliard would finally get the Tigers out of the inning...
Robert Martin would replace John Byrnes on the mound for Air Force and would quickly register three straight strike outs for a three up-three down LSU inning... We would head to the 7th inning with Air Force holding a 3-2 lead.
Paul Mainieri would bring in freshman Blake Money to start the top of the 7th. Cole Blatchford would lead off the inning with a double to left field, but Money would settle down and ring up the first strike out of his LSU career. Next Falcon batter up would hit the ball towards the left side and the Tigers would do a great job of tagging out Blatchford trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd base for the 2nd out of the inning. After issuing a walk, Money would strike out Garcia to end the frame.
The Tigers were still unable to get to Martin in the bottom of the 7th as Bianco and Milazzo would both strike out to start the inning. After Crews would draw a walk, Cade Doughty would fly out to end the 7th quietly.... We would head to the 8th inning with the score still 3-2, Air Force...
Trent Vietmeier would replace Money to start the 8th inning for the Tigers, and he would hit the mound smoking. He would strike out the first two Falcon batters, then register a fly out to shallow left field for a quick three up-three down inning.
Tre' Morgan would lead of the LSU 8th with a walk. Next Beloso would have a nice at bat drawing a walk. Will Safford would pinch hit for Dugas. A wild pitch would advance the Tiger runners to 2nd and 3rd with no outs. After Safford would strike out, Zack Arnold would step up and make the timely hit, ripping a single to left field scoring both Morgan and Beloso. Air Force would make a pitching change. Joe Martinez would come in and get the last two outs for the Falcons. We would head to the top of the 9th with LSU leading 4-3.
LSU would head into the top of the 9th with Ty Floyd taking the mound to try and close things out. After striking out the lead off batter, Floyd would struggle as he would walk the next two hitters, then give up a week single to short stop to load the bases with only one out. Mainieri would pull Floyd and replace him with Aaron George. George would walk Covin sending a run home to tie the game at 4-4. With the bases still loaded with only one out Gabriel Garcia would step up to the plate. Garcia would hit a deep fly ball to center field. Deep enough to score another run for the Falcons. The Tigers would finally record the third out of the frame and head to the bottom of the 9th with some work to do as Air Force leads 6-4.
Mitchell Sanford would lead off the inning for the Tigers and go down swinging. Dylan Crews would step to the plate and hit a solo home run to left field to pull the Tigers to within 6-5. Cade Doughty would then ground out as LSU would be down to their final out. Tre' Morgan would step up to bat but would strike out on a 3-2 count. Air Force would escape with a well earned 6-5 victory....
Photos below by: Jonathan Mailhes