LSU scores eight in first inning, routs Southern 17-4

Eric Walker’s first start in 20 months was delayed twice by inclement weather and another time by a stomach bug.

After a clean first inning with two strikeouts, the right-hander had to wait a while longer before going back out to complete his outing.

LSU batted around in an eight-run first inning highlighted by a three-run homer from Cade Beloso and a two-run double from Josh Smith in his second at-bat.

All of the runs were unearned thanks to two Southern errors, but that was rather immaterial as LSU steamrolled to a 17-4 rout at Alex Box Stadium on Wednesday night.

Antoine Duplantis considered his assault on the Southeastern Conference record books amid the blowout. He finished 4-for-5 and drove in five runs, upping his season RBI total to 23 through eight games.

Beloso finished with three hits and four RBI after homering in the first to continue tightening his grip on the first base job. Chris Reid came off the bench and contributed a bases-clearing double.

The early outburst is just the latest in a growing number of fast starts for the home team at Alex Box Stadium. LSU has scored 26 first-inning runs through its first eight games, and Smith has now scored seven runs out of the leadoff spot during that span.

Walker appeared no worse for wear after waiting 30 minutes before going back out for the second inning. He worked another clean inning to finish his first start since 2017 having retired all six batters he faced with three strikeouts.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri hooked Walker after two innings and emptied his bench in order to keep everyone fresh and available for this weekend’s series at Texas. The Tigers will cruise into Austin a perfect 8-0 on the season.

Cole Henry was the next pitcher in for LSU. He worked two scoreless innings of his own and struck out the side in the fourth. Chase Costello, who missed last weekend due to arm soreness, came on and worked a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout.

Perhaps the most consequential story of the night was that Ma’Khail Hilliard made his 2019 debut.

Out since the 2018 SEC Tournament due to shoulder soreness, Hilliard worked around a leadoff single and a two-out to post a scoreless inning. His fastball sat 86-88 mph and he picked up a strikeout on a sharp curveball.

LSU will depart for Austin on Thursday afternoon. First pitch for Friday night will be at 7 p.m.

About James Moran 1377 Articles
James Moran was Editor of Tiger Rag from August 2018 to October 2019. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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