By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
BATON ROUGE, LA:: The Tigers would bounce back from their disappointing loss to Air Force with an impressive 16-7 victory over a good Louisiana Tech team at Alex Box Stadium on Monday night.
The Bulldogs had their way with Tigers starting pitcher AJ Labas as they would build a 6-2 lead halfway through the game. Freshmen pitcher Javen Coleman would enter the game and shut down the Tech attack earning his first win of the season.
The Tigers would also begin to heat up at the plate and end up scoring 14 runs in their final four innings at bat. It was nice to see this young, talented LSU team seem to begin to put things together. With a group of freshmen earning playing time so early in the season, look for steady improvement in each game.
After a quiet first two innings, the Bulldogs would ignite a four run inning in the top of the third. It began quickly as Taylor Young would lead off with a home run to left field. Then with runners on 1st and 2nd base with no outs, Steele Netterville would blast a ball deep to right field that would land off the bottom of the wall just over the reach of LSU right fielder Dylan Crews. The hit would score two more runs as Netterville would end up with a stand up triple. Manny Garcia would step up to the plate and rip a single to center field to bring Netterville home for run number four. AJ Labas and the Tiger defense would be able to get the next three Bulldogs out to end the bleeding, as we would head to the bottom of the 3rd with Louisiana Tech leading 4-0.
LSU would answer with a run in the bottom of the inning as Dylan Crews would send one into orbit deep over the right center field wall for a two out, solo home run, cutting the lead to 4-1 as we would head into the 4th.
Tech would get that LSU run right back as they would respond in the top of the fourth inning. Parker Bates would hit a solo shot over the left center field wall to extend the Bulldogs lead to 5-1. Mainieri would then chose to make a pitching change bringing in freshman Javen Coleman who would help get the Tigers out of the 4th with no more damage done.
LSU would mount a threat in the bottom of the 5th as they would load the bases with only one out. Dylan Crews would step to the plate and single to left field scoring Mitchell Sanford from 3rd. One run is all the Tigers could manage as a base running mistake would cost them an out, along with their struggles at the plate. We would head to the 6th inning with Tech up 5-2.
Coleman would continue to pitch well for the Tigers, facing only four batters in the top of the 6th. Unfortunately, one of them, Hunter Wells would blast a solo home run deep over the left field bleachers putting the Bulldogs back up by four runs, 6-2.
LSU would find themselves with the bases loaded again for the second straight inning. This time a Tiger would step up and make the big hit. Gavin Dugas would rocket a grand slam over the left field wall to even things up at 6-6. Freshmen Jordan Thompson would step up to the plate next and hit his first home run as a Tiger over the left center field wall to give LSU their first lead of the ball game, 7-6 after six innings...
The Tigers began to heat up at the plate as they would have another solid inning in the 7th scoring four more runs to take a 11-6 lead.
After doing a great job of shutting down the La Tech bats, Javen Coleman would be replaced by Matthew Beck to start the 8th. Beck would pick up where Coleman left off as the Bulldogs remained handcuffed through the inning, going down quietly.
LSU continued to stay aggressive at the plate and once again would load the bases. Jake Wyeth would then step up to the plate a hit a shot down the left field line to clear the bases with a stand up double. Two batters later Cade Doughty would hit a single to bring Wyeth in for a four run 8th.
Tech would add a run in the top of the 9th, but Jacob Hasty would do a great job on the mound to finish the game off.
“Tonight’s game showed that our players have a maturity about them; they turned the page after a tough loss (to Air Force) yesterday,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We had a great pregame batting practice and pregame infield, and you could see the guys were focused and enthused about playing. They went out there and played their hearts out tonight.
“You never heard any negativity in the dugout when we were down by four runs. Javen Coleman came in and settled the game down for us, Dylan Crews gave us a spark with a solo homer, and then the sixth inning was huge for us.”
With the win LSU is now 2-1 on the season...
Up next the Tigers will travel to Lafayette to play the UL Ragin Cajuns on Wednesday, Feb. 24th
Photos below by: Jonathan Mailhes