BATON ROUGE, La. — If there were any questions left about just how good the 2017 LSU baseball team can be, they were answered Thursday night.
Behind a 15-hit performance where 10 different Tigers recorded at least one and a scoreless outing from ace Alex Lange, the Tigers turned out their best game of the year Thursday night, beating Ole Miss by two touchdowns, 15-2. This comes after LSU (24-11, 8-5 SEC) had lost each of its last three SEC series openers, having scored three combined runs in those games.
“I can’t go back and remember every game, but that’s as good as you can play right there tonight,” LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said. “Our starting pitcher was awesome. We played defense. We had great at-bats, ran the bases well… I just thought we played with a great focus, a great intensity and played extremely well.”
Veterans Antoine Duplantis and Greg Deichmann led the way for LSU offensively. Duplantis turned in a 4-for-4 night, his second four-hit game of the season, driving in four runs and scoring three. And Deichmann provided the theatrics, driving in five runs on three hits, one of which a sixth-inning grand slam.
That grand slam by @Greg_D07:
Exit velo – 111.4 mph
Launch angle – 29 degrees
Distance – 457 ft
Max Height – 113 ft
Hang Time – 5.91 sec
— LSUBaseballData (@LSUBaseballData) April 14, 2017
Thursday was Deichmann’s sixth-straight multi-hit game, a streak which has included four games against SEC schools and five against schools that have been ranked at one point in the year. In addition to Deichmann and Duplantis, designated hitter Jordan Romero also logged a multi-hit game for the Tigers, driving in two runs on two singles.
“Nobody’s more important [to LSU’s offense] than Greg Deichmann,” Mainieri said. “Deichmann’s a threat up there. What he does makes us a really good offensive team. But I thought Jordan Romero came through with a couple of clutch hits today and I think that’s important. If I’m the other team’s coach and I say ‘I don’t want to let Deichmann beat me,’ who am I going to pitch to? You’ve got to pitch to Romero.”
Starting pitcher Alex Lange rebounded from his loss last week in Arkansas with a fantastic night of his own, throwing seven shutout innings, striking out seven with one walk while allowing three hits. Lange carried a perfect game into the fifth inning, retiring the first 13 batters he faced before allowing a one-out single to break up the bid.
Interestingly, only two of Lange’s 21 outs came via groundout. Lange allowed 13 fly balls in the game, one of which burned him for a double in the sixth inning, but the other 12 of which fell safely into an LSU player’s glove. The junior came out after the seventh inning, having thrown 92 pitches, 57 for strikes.
“If we’re going to get early contact in the early innings, that’s what we want,” Lange said. “We don’t want to go deep to guys early if we don’t have to. To put guys away later in games in bigger situations, we can kind of pitch for strikeouts. But early, if they’re going to swing first, second or third pitch, I love that.”
Ole Miss scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning off LSU reliever Austin Bain.
What’s next for LSU baseball?
The Tigers return to the field versus Ole Miss tomorrow at 7 p.m. CT. Senior Jared Poché (6-1, 2.32 ERA) will start for the Tigers. The game will be streamed on WatchESPN and a radio broadcast will be available through the LSU Sports Radio Network.