BATON ROUGE, La. — For the first time in nearly a month – and the last time in 2017 – the LSU baseball team won a midweek game.
Behind five sterling innings from freshman starting pitcher Todd Peterson and three long home runs, LSU defeated Northwestern State 9-3 Tuesday night, improving to 8-6 in the midweek and 36-17 overall in 2017. Tuesday night was LSU’s final home game of the 2017 regular season, and thus the final of second baseman Cole Freeman and shortstop Kramer Robertson’s respective careers.
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Robertson responded to his last regular-season home game with a night to remember, going 4-for-5 with a solo home runs, two doubles and three runs scored. Freeman notched two hits of his own, stealing two bases and scoring two runs as well. Seniors Bryce Adams, Jordan Romero, Russell Reynolds and Collin Strall all checked in to play in the late innings as well.
“It’s my last ever regular season game here, my last time to wear the pinstripes,” Robertson said. “I felt really good tonight. I knew it was going to be my last time to wear this jersey, so I wanted to make it special. It was pretty cool to hit a home run in my last at-bat there. That’s something pretty special that I’ll remember for a while.”
Outside of the seniors making their final regular-season appearances at Alex Box, the story of Tuesday’s game was Peterson. Peterson tossed the longest outing of his young career, allowing one run on four hits in five innings with six strikeouts. LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said Monday that he is preparing Peterson to potentially be LSU baseball’s fourth starter come SEC and NCAA Tournament time, and Tuesday’s start was a big step toward having confidence in Peterson to do so.
“I thought Peterson was really good,” Mainieri said. “Very efficient. He threw a lot of strikes… The more mound time he gets, I think the better he’ll continue to get. I thought his fastball was alive. I thought he had good command of it. He threw some good off-speed pitches. I was very pleased.”
Right fielder Greg Deichmann and freshman centfielder Zach Watson led LSU’s offensive charge, both smacking two-run home runs. Deichmann’s came in the first inning, opening up the scoring for the Tigers, while Watson contributed his in the fourth inning, padding Peterson’s lead. Impressively, Deichmann’s home run was his hardest hit of the year, coming off the bat at faster than 114 mph and traveling 420 feet.
Left fielder Antoine Duplantis and first baseman Nick Coomes also drove in runs, with Duplantis’ RBI coming theatrically. In the sixth inning, with Robertson standing on second base, Duplantis doubled off the right field wall. Northwestern State’s second baseman mishandled his relay throw, allowing Duplantis to advance to third on the double. The second baseman’s errant relay throw ended up in the glove of the left fielder, who himself committed an error, allowing Duplantis to score on a little-league home run.
Deichmann left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with an apparent knee injury.
He ended the eighth with a dribbler between the pitcher and the first baseman. Northwestern State pitcher Tim Winders dove for the ball, rolling up on Deichmann’s lower body trying to get the tag. Deichmann spiked his helmet in frustration with the maneuver, then reached for the area below his knee.
Deichmann walked off the field on his own power. After the game, Deichmann and Mainieri both said that the injury was more shock than pain, and that Deichmann feels fine now.
“He’s not limping,” Mainieri said. “I think it stunned him at first. My heart stopped. At first it hurt, but the pain subsided. Our trainer checked his knee. It looked strong. He doesn’t feel anything. He hasn’t tried to run, but he’s walking with a limp without pain… Hopefully he’s going to wake up and he’ll feel fine and we’ll be good to go. Right now that’s how I feel; I feel confident that that’ll be the case.”
“It just tightened up on me for a second,” Deichmann said. “I felt some pain. But by the time I got to the dugout it had subsided. Like I said: I’m good to go.”
What’s next for LSU baseball?
The LSU baseball team faces off against former LSU hitting coach Andy Cannizaro and the Mississippi State Bulldogs for the SEC West crown this week in Starkville, Miss. Action begins Thursday at 6:00 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on the SEC Network and available for stream through WatchESPN. Alex Lange will pitch for LSU.