BATON ROUGE, La. — The weekend may be over, but the LSU baseball team’s same old struggles carried over into the midweek.
Behind a rough 2-for-16 outing with runners on base, LSU lost a home outing versus Tulane, 7-6, Tuesday night, marking the fourth time LSU has lost to an in-state opponent in a midweek game this season. Tulane got most of its production off of long balls, with three home runs plating five runners.
To be fair, LSU also produced most of its offense via the long ball, but it was just one swing. Catcher Michael Papierski briefly gave LSU the lead in the fourth inning with a grand slam, his third home run of the season, to push LSU ahead 5-2.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) March 29, 2017
But LSU didn’t hold onto the lead for long, as freshman starting pitcher Zack Hess allowed a two-run homer in the fifth to close the deficit and relief pitcher Russell Reynolds surrendered a two-run blast of his own one inning later to give Tulane the decisive lead.
LSU had a great chance to score in the bottom of the seventh inning, but first baseman Jake Slaughter lined out hard to third base with the bases loaded to end the Tigers’ threat. Again, in the eighth inning, LSU had an opportunity with Beau Jordan standing on third base with one out. Kramer Robertson dribbled a grounder at Tulane’s shortstop, who threw out Jordan at home.
The play was reviewed, but it was confirmed that Jordan was out at the plate.
The Tigers scored one unearned run in the ninth inning off a three-base error by Tulane’s first baseman, scoring Greg Deichmann. Josh Smith was stranded on third base as Slaughter popped out to center field to end the game.
With his fourth-inning grand slam, Papierski upped his RBI total for the season from 9 to 13 and seized control of second place on LSU’s home run list with 3 on the season.
He also flashed the side of the game he’s best known for, catching a runner stealing in the sixth inning. Papierski has now caught 13 runners stealing on the season on 20 attempts for a 65 percent caught stealing rate.
Hess pounded the zone with a high number of strikes, which when combined with the thin air Tuesday night wasn’t the best plan of attack. Two-thirds of Hess’ pitches (58 out of 87) were strikes, from which he allowed two home runs.
On the flip side, though, Hess’ high strike rate led to an equally high strikeout rate. The freshman only surrendered 1 walk in five innings versus 7 strikeouts. His season-long strikeout-to-walk ratio is up to 33 to 12. By comparison, LSU ace Alex Lange’s ratio is 43 to 10 and Saturday starter Jared Poché is at 36 to 9.
Tulane didn’t feel like pitching to Deichmann.
Deichmann tied the long-standing LSU baseball record with 4 walks in a single game. The walks came in his last four at-bats after he started with a fly out to left field in the second inning.
What’s next for LSU baseball?
The LSU baseball team begins a weekend series one day early this week, as it welcomes Texas A&M to Alex Box Stadium for an SEC set beginning Thursday. The game will begin at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on the SEC Network. Lange is LSU’s scheduled starting pitcher.