HOUSTON – A two-run homer by shortstop Jack Pineda in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday night broke a 5-5 tie and lifted Baylor to a 9-6 win over LSU in the final game of the Shriners College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
LSU (9-3) Tigers return to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when they play host to McNeese in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be broadcast on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, and the game may be viewed on SEC Network +.
Trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, the Bears grabbed the lead when catcher Cortlan Castle delivered an RBI groundout Pineda followed with a two-run homer, his first of the season.
Baylor (6-5) added two more in the eighth on an RBI single by second baseman Tre Richardson and right fielder Kyle Nevin’s sacrifice fly.
The Tigers rallied in the ninth, as third baseman Jacob Berry launched a solo homer, and LSU brought the tying run to the plate with one out. However, Baylor reliever Mason Marriott struck out the next two hitters to end the game and earn his second save of the season.
“I expect to win every game, and we didn’t do that, but I like the fight our team showed all weekend,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “We had some very good performances on the mound, which we’re going to need. Because of the way we’re set up right now, we’re going to have to use a lot of guys. We do have to play better defense, I don’t know any other way to say it, and we’ll continue to work on that.”
Matt Voelker (1-1), the second of five Baylor pitchers, earned the win, as he fired 2.1 scoreless innings and allowed one hit with one walk and two strikeouts.
LSU reliever Paul Gervase (1-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering three runs on three hits in 2.1 innings with no walks and four strikeouts.
LSU scored two runs in the top of the first inning as Berry provided an run-scoring double and second baseman Cade Doughty lifted a sacrifice fly.
Baylor responded with a run in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Nevin, and the Bears took the lead with two runs in the third, as Nevin delivered an RBI single and designated hitter Antonio Valdez contributed a sacrifice fly.
The Tigers regained the lead with three runs in the fourth when leftfielder Gavin Dugas ripped a two-out, two-run single, and after catcher Tyler McManus drew a walk, first baseman Tre’ Morgan lined an RBI single.
Baylor narrowed the deficit to 5-4 in the fourth on a run-scoring triple by Castle.
“I’m glad we’re home for the next couple of weeks,” said Johnson, “mostly for the ability to practice and train, maximize that time and be the type of team that we want to be. I think this weekend will help us going forward, and the next time we’re in a game like we were tonight, we’ll do what we need to do to be successful.”