BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU baseball team subscribed to Murphy’s Law on Sunday against Texas; everything that could’ve gone wrong did.
Starting pitcher Todd Peterson barely made it through the Longhorns’ batting order twice. LSU’s offense went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The bullpen couldn’t find the strike zone. One error. One wild pitch. One passed ball. One balk. And it all added up to a 11-1 LSU loss, dropping the Tigers to 4-3 on the year. Despite the loss, LSU still won the series over Texas two games to one.
“I think everything that could’ve went their way today went their way,” Peterson said. “At the end of the day, it’s baseball. That’s what happens. You can’t really beat yourself up about it.”
After throwing two efficient, shutout innings to open his day, Peterson slumped to a finish. The sophomore right-hander allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk in the third inning, including three doubles. He came back out for the fourth and allowed another run on 2 hits and a sacrifice.
Peterson’s rough outing marked the sixth time in seven games that LSU’s starting pitcher failed to complete 5 innings of work. LSU starters have an 11.47 ERA on the season, allowing 31 earned runs in 24.2 innings pitched.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet,” LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said when asked if he planned on making changes to the rotation. “We’ve pretty much ran all our pitchers out there. You’ve seen them all. So if you think there’s somebody better, please let me know and I’ll consider it.”
LSU’s bullpen didn’t fare much better than Peterson. Freshman Devin Fontenot pitched the fifth inning, allowing 2 runs on a hit and 3 walks. Ma’Khail Hilliard followed Fontenot by pitching a scoreless sixth, but the bullpen ran out of steam in the seventh. Sophomore Will Reese allowed 3 runs on 2 hits and made just 1 out before giving way to junior Clay Moffitt, who surrendered a run on 3 hits in his LSU debut.
“What happens is Zack [Hess] was tremendous on Friday night, but he did give us 6 innings instead of 7 or 8,” Mainieri said. “Then Caleb [Gilbert], we had to go to the bullpen in the fifth. So what happens is you end up using your best arms earlier in the weekend. Then you don’t have your best bullets on Sunday. So it sort of makes things seem worse later on.”
As for the offense, the Tigers couldn’t find a way to sustain a rally. Despite putting two runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings, LSU didn’t plate any runners, ending the first inning with a double play and stranding two runners in the second on a grounder and a lineout.
From there, the offense stagnated. Texas starter Blair Henley strengthened as the game went on, exiting after 6 shutout innings having allowed 6 hits with 3 strikeouts. Between the third and sixth innings, LSU batters mustered only 3 hits.
Centerfielder Antoine Duplantis doubled in designated hitter Chris Reid with 2 outs in the ninth inning for LSU’s only run of the day. For all of LSU’s offensive struggles Sunday, Duplantis hit 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
“It’s a game of inches,” Duplantis said. “If we take care of things in that first inning, maybe push a few runs across, maybe the game is different. But maybe not. Maybe they keep swinging the bats and putting up a bunch of runs. But that’s just the game of baseball. We have to lock in for those big moments.”
What’s next for LSU baseball?
LSU returns to action on Tuesday in its annual “throwback game” versus Grambling. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT in Alex Box Stadium and will be available for stream online through the SEC Network+ on WatchESPN.