LSU baseball bounces back from loss as Luke Holman dominates against Northern Illinois

Luke Holman was No. 10 in the nation in total strikeouts last season. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU baseball bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 5-2 win over Northern Illinois.

Luke Holman started on the mound for the Tigers for the second time this season and Northern Illinois couldn’t hit anything he threw. He has yet to give up a run this season through 12.1 innings pitched. LSU advances to 6-1 on the season with the win.

The win was Jay Johnson’s 100th as a Tiger. He is the fastest coach to 100 wins in school history.

“When you have a good team you can win games without being your best,” Johnson said. “That’s what I think we are. A good team that’s not quite playing our best right now.”

Northern Illinois went three up, three down to start the game. Holman recorded two strikeouts in the inning. LSU got a runner on base in the bottom of the first courtesy of a fielding error from Charlie Parcell but couldn’t get anything else going on offense.

Mason Kelley recorded the first hit of the game with a single to lead off the second inning. Northern Illinois hit into a double play in the next at bat and Holman recorded another strikeout to end the inning.

The Tigers got on the board in the second inning courtesy of several walks from Northern Illinois’ starting pitcher Jackson Stewart. Stewart walked five batters in the inning including the leadoff man, Hayden Travinski.

After Jake Brown struck out, Stewart walked two straight batters to load the bases. A Mac Bingham groundball scored Travinski from third and Jackson walked Paxton Kling in the next at bat to load the bases again. He then walked Josh Pearson to score another run for LSU. Tommy White grounded out to end the inning with the Tigers winning 2-0.

Holman gave up just one hit in the first four innings and recorded five strikeouts. His breaking ball consistently fooled the Northern Illinoi batters. Besides the one hit, he hit one batter with a pitch.

Despite the 2-0 lead, LSU didn’t record its first hit of the game until the fourth inning. Bingham hit a two-run bomb after Steven Milam walked to give LSU a 4-0 lead.

“It felt good to get some runs in,” Bingham said. “[Stewart] was a crafty pitcher. After the first at bat I knew had to stay back and change my approach up. I’m thankful it got out.”

Then, Kling was walked and stole second base. Pearson got the second hit of the game after that to score Kling. White hit into a double play to end the inning. LSU led 5-0 heading into the fifth.

Stewart was pulled from the game to start the bottom of the fifth. He finished with three strikeouts and gave up two hits, five earned runs and six walks in 4.0 innings pitched.

He was replaced by Jacob Draeger who walked the first batter he faced but got out of the inning without allowing anything else.

Holman continued to dominate in the sixth inning. He allowed his second hit of the game but that was all in the inning for Northern Illinois. LSU went three up, three down to end the sixth inning.

Holman again made quick work of the Northern Illinois batters to force a three up, three down inning in the seventh. It was Holman’s last inning of the game.

Holman finished with eight strikeouts and gave up just two hits and no runs through 7.0 innings pitched. On the season, Holman has given up just five hits, one walk and no runs with 18 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched over two starts.

“I’m pounding the zone pretty good and my off-speed is doing really well and I’m just dissecting hitters really well,” Holman said. “I feel very comfortable.”

Ryan Linkletter replaced Draeger in the bottom of the seventh for Northern Illinois. He gave up a single to Kling, but a fly out from Pearson followed by White hitting into a double play ended the inning.

Christian Little came in to start the eighth inning for LSU. It was his second appearance of the season. He struck out the first two batters he faced, and a fly out ended the inning.

Regan Klawiter came in to pitch for Northern Illinois in the bottom of the eighth before being replaced by Conner Lutes in the same inning. Lutes gave up two walks but managed to get out of the inning without allowing anything else.

Justin Loer came in to close out the game for LSU in the ninth inning. He struck out the first batter he faced and then walked the second. An RBI double ensured Northern Illinois wouldn’t be shutout in the game.

Loer gave up his second straight RBI double to score another runner and bring the score to 5-2. After those two hits, Gavin Guidry came in to replace Loer. Guidry forced two straight fly outs to get out of the inning and end the game.

“Justin Loer is one of my favorite pitchers on the team and nothing that happened today changes that at all,” Johnson said. “We’ll go right back to him quickly whether that’s tomorrow or Wednesday.”

LSU’s next game is a rematch with Stony Brook and will be Sunday at 1 p.m.

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Will Nickel

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