No. 2 LSU baseball has no problem with North Dakota State, wins by five runs

No. 2 LSU baseball beat North Dakota State University by five runs. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

No. 2 LSU baseball overcame a slow start to cruise to a 6-1 win over North Dakota State University.

LSU (15-2) surrendered an early 1-0 lead to the Bison before the Tigers retook the lead in the bottom of the second and never looked back.

Kade Anderson got the start on the mound and went 2.2 innings and gave up three hits, one run and one walk. The Tigers’ pitching staff recorded 10 strikeouts and just one extra base hit.

Brady Neal led LSU with two RBI, went 3-for-3 hitting and was hit by a pitch. Jared Jones hit the only homer of the game in the bottom of the third and LSU had nine hits on the game.

“[Neal] did a good job tonight,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “He did a really good job tonight specifically in just getting his pitch. He looked way different than he did on Sunday. He has had a good start but real good progress tonight. He has hitting talent and he’s one of my favorite guys that we’ve brought here.”

NDSU started the game with a leadoff single from Cadyn Schwabe. James Dunlap hit a double to score Schwabe and hand the Bison their first and only run of the game. They finished the game with only five hits and two came in the first inning.

LSU got a walk in the bottom of the first, but the Tigers’ offense didn’t get on the board until the second inning. Hayden Travinski started the inning with a leadoff double and Neal was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. An Alex Milazzo single loaded the bases before a Michael Braswell III sac fly scored Travinski to tie the game.

Milazzo was caught in a pickle between first and second while trying to steal for the final out of the inning, but he remained alive long enough to allow Neal to score and give LSU a 2-1 lead.

“I have no ego in how we score runs,” Johnson said. “I’m just going to do what we need to do to win. If we need to score in different ways, good. I just want to win.”

Anderson was pulled for Fidel Ulloa in the top of the third with one out to go. Ulloa came in and recorded an out to head to the bottom of the inning.

Johnson hinted that Anderson was pulled so early to give him the opportunity to pitch this weekend against Mississippi State.

“He’s one of our best pitchers so why not have one of your best pitchers available,” Johnson said. “And if we don’t use him then we’ll roll him to next Tuesday. I thought he was solid. I don’t think he was as sharp as he was last week, but there’s one run on the board with almost three innings done and I’ll take that for an entire career out of a pitcher.”

Tommy White hit a deep flyball to center field that looked like it would get out, but it just fell short and was snagged by the center fielder. Jones hit a ball to almost the same spot in the next at bat and this time it did leave the park. It was Jones’ sixth homer of the season.

Ulloa walked a pair of batters and hit another with a pitch to load the bases for the Bison with two outs gone in the top of the fourth inning. Ulloa was pulled for Justin Loer who recorded a strikeout to get out of the jam.

Neal and Mac Bingham started the bottom of the fourth with two-straight singles before a Milazzo groundout advanced Bingham to second and scored Neal to bring the score to 4-1.

Loer forced a three up, three down inning out of the Bison in the top of the fifth. White and Jones walked to start the bottom of the inning before a single from Neal scored White and brought the score to 5-1.

Loer was pulled for Javen Coleman in the top of the seventh inning. Coleman allowed a single and a walk but managed to get out of the inning without any other trouble. White singled in the bottom of the seventh and advanced to third after a groundout and a wild pitch. Neal doubled to score White and bring the lead to 6-1.

Coleman forced two-straight three up, three down innings to close out the game and give the Tigers a five-run win.

“I like that we scored in five of the eight innings,” Johnson said. “We’ll keep working at it.”

LSU and NDSU play again tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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