Tigers win sixth game in a row
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Louisiana Tech southpaw Tyler Clancy took the mound on Tuesday night having won three times in as many starts while pitching to a miniscule 1.00 ERA. He’d twirled gems in leading the Bulldogs in back-to-back midweek upsets over ranked foes Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas.
That sterling ERA tripled by evening’s end and his record stands unblemished no more.
Mounting long at-bats from the start, the red-hot Tiger lineup got RBI doubles from Greg Deichmann, O’Neal Lochridge, Beau Jordan and Mike Papierski to chase Clancy after allowing five runs in three innings.
“We bounced on him early,” Jordan said. “And once we started hitting him, we kept hitting him. It’s good to get a lefty like that under our belt before SEC play, but I think this team is ready to play.”
LSU (10-2) pounded out double-digit hits for the seventh consecutive contest and ninth time in 10 games. Alden Cartwright and four relievers — aided by an error-free defensive performance — worked a combined six-hitter to down Louisiana Tech (8-4) 6-3 on a damp, windy night at Alex Box Stadium.
“Overall I thought it was a great all-around performance from our team,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “Good opponent. A very good win, and I’m happy it’s in the books.”
The hitters credited Andy Cannizaro and the work of lefty-throwing duo of undergraduate assistant Brent Bonvillain and manager Joe McCarthy — “he’s like Randy Johnson,” Jordan joked — in batting practice for helping prepare to face Clancy.
“Coach Cannizaro has talked a lot about that lefty and our approach,” Deichmann said. “We tried to get some lefty BP throwers in there and just get used to the lefties.”
After a quiet first frame, LSU started doing damage against Clancy in the second. Designated hitter Jordan Romero drew and one-out to get things going. Two batters later, Deichmann lined a 3-0 offering to right for the first RBI double. Lochridge followed with a drive to deep left-center field that doubled the early advantage.
“Coach gave me a 3-0 green light and he just put it in my wheelhouse,” Deichmann said.
Kramer Robertson singled and Jake Fraley walked to lead off the third inning. Two batters later, Jordan scored Robertson with an RBI double off the wall in left field. Fraley came home on a Romero ground out. Papierski followed with a flair into shallow left and legged out an RBI double to make the lead 5-0.
LSU’s only other run came in the sixth. Fraley (2-for-3, BB) singled and stole second base. After an Antoine Duplantis single, Jordan brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center.
It began with Cartwright, who retired the first nine men in order to begin his first start of the season. The reliever ran into trouble in the fourth and had to be lifted for Parker Bugg, but the outing (3.2 IP, 2 ER) was exactly the type of performance Mainieri hoped to get out of his veteran.
The bullpen took it from there. Austin Bain, who started and struggled in LSU’s first two midweek games, allowed just one run in three innings to earn the win in relief. He got back-to-back strikeouts to strand runners on corners in the fifth.
“I just had to go out there and trust my stuff,” Bain said of the improvement. “Throw hard. Stop trying to be perfect and let my pitches do their job. I’m getting more confident and more comfortable.”
It was a three-run game heading to the eighth inning, allowing Mainieri to turn the game over to his late-game duo of setup man Jesse Stallings and closer Calber Gilbert. The former pitched around a pair of singles before the rookie came on and slammed the door to earn his first save.
“I’m so glad we could finally give him a normal save situation,” Mainieri said.
With Wednesday’s game already rained out, LSU will be back in action Friday night as LSU begins a three-game series with Ball State.
– Duplantis extended his hitting streak to 12 games to begin his career. Fraley extended his to seven.
– Mainieri didn’t have much of an update on Bryce Jordan (ankle) other than he was progressing.