BATON ROUGE, La. — It was a game the LSU baseball team was supposed to dominate. So it did.
Behind six one-hit innings from freshman starting pitcher Zack Hess, the LSU baseball team dispatched Division III opponent Louisiana College, shutting them out 13-0. Hess carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, losing it on a two-out infield single he was unable to field himself. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out seven and walked none, though he did throw one wild pitch.
“I just really focused on throwing things down and hitting my spots and just really focused on throwing three pitches for strikes,” Hess said. “That’s the big thing for me and that’s a thing I have to continue to work on. I just slowed [things] down a little bit and it worked out well.”
Of the many things that worked in Hess’ favor, one of the biggest was that he practically exclusively pitched with a lead. After Hess set down Louisiana College’s lineup 1-2-3 in the top of the first, LSU came out and scored three in the home half behind two hits, one walk, one hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly.
LSU’s offense only got better in the late innings. The Tigers tacked on two runs in the fifth inning off back-to-back-to-back singles from Josh Smith, Beau Jordan and Nick Coomes, the last three hitters in LSU’s lineup, then pounded LC’s pitching for seven runs in the bottom of the seventh. Antoine Duplantis supplied the hammer in that inning, clearing the bases with a three-run double.
“This was not about who we were playing,” LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said. “This was about us staying in a good rhythm of playing the game the right way. We had a couple of big hits [in the first inning] and then we had several clutch hits when the game was still close. I’m just really proud of the guys and how they came out tonight with a purpose.”
Beau-ing the distance
Earning his first start since LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri shifted Antoine Duplantis to his left field slot, Beau Jordan made the best of his opportunities.
Starting at designated hitter, Jordan went 2-for-4, scoring three runs with two RBI. Jordan’s two hits came in the fourth and seventh inning, both of which plated runners. The performance improved his batting average for the year to .370 and nearly doubled his season total in both runs scored and RBI.
I’ve been getting an at-bat here and there lately. I’ve just got to stick with it, stick with the process,” Jordan said. “I tried to attack early. That’s the biggest thing when you’ve got a runner on third with less than two outs. Swing at the first pitch if it’s a good pitch. If you get it, you get it.”
When life gives you Cole…
Cole Freeman’s season has been pretty great by almost every metric. He’s hitting well above .450, leading his team in hits and on-base percentage and scoring more than one run per game.
But in one sense, Freeman’s season has been bizarrely painful. Freeman was hit by two pitches Tuesday night, bringing his season mark up to six times hit by pitches. By comparison, all of LSU’s pitchers have combined to hit eight opposing batters with pitches all season.
Freeman finished his day 0-for-1 with two runs, two RBI and a sacrifice fly.
What’s next for LSU baseball?
The LSU baseball team returns to action tomorrow night with a home contest against University of New Orleans. UNO supplied LSU with its first loss of the season back in February, an 11-8 loss in New Orleans. Freshman Todd Peterson is scheduled to start the game on the mound, but he won’t throw for long as Mainieri plans for a bullpen game. The game is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed on WatchESPN and SEC Network Plus.