LSU edges Southeastern 6-5 in bullpen battle

February 19, 2019 - 7:21 pm

James Moran | TigerRag.com

Runs were tough to come by on a cold, misty night, and the first midweek game of the season fittingly came down to a battle of the bullpens.

LSU’s crew of veteran arms didn’t blink.

Matt Beck, Devin Fontenot and Todd Peterson locked Southeastern down for five scoreless innings and LSU scratched out a run in the eighth inning to escape with a 6-5 win at Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday night.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri turned to his bench to spark the winning rally. Giovanni DiGiacomo led off the inning with a single and stole second base. Chris Reid came off the bench to lay down a sacrifice bunt, moving the go-ahead run to third. Brock Mathis looped the go-ahead single over the drawn-in infield.

The job wasn’t done yet as Peterson still had to face the heart of the Southeastern order protecting a one-run lead. He retired the side in order to cap a cold, hard-fought night.

With the victory, LSU improves to 4-0 on the young season. It wouldn’t have gotten there without 6.1 innings of one-run ball out of a quartet of relievers.

LSU was hoping for more of the same as it turned the ball to a true freshman for the third consecutive game, but Cole Henry couldn’t replicate the sterling debuts of Landon Marceaux and Jaden Hill. Henry struggled to command his fastball and spotty defense behind him led to an inflated pitch count.

Already trailing 4-3, Henry was pulled after loading the bases in the third inning. He was tagged for four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks. The situation could’ve been considerably worse had Southeastern not stranded the bases loaded in the first and third frames.

Things snowballed on Henry in that third inning. LSU held a 3-2 lead and the inning appeared to end on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. Video review ruled that the runner was safe at second base, and after a walk, Southeastern left fielder Nick Ray smoked a two-run double. Ray also homered earlier.

Trailing 5-4, LSU pulled even in the seventh inning after Josh Smith got hit in the jaw by a pitch. Smith stayed in the game, and he moved to third base when Southeastern threw away a Brandt Broussard bunt. Antoine Duplantis brought the run home with a ground ball.

LSU will have two days off before beginning a series with Bryant on Friday night. Wednesday’s game at Northwestern State has been postponed due to inclement weather and field conditions.

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