HAMMOND, La. — LSU left the friendly confines of Alex Box Stadium for the first time this season only to run into a buzz saw.
Southeastern right-hander Carlisle Koestler held LSU to one run on five hits over seven dominant innings with six strikeouts as the Lions took a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning.
Jake Slaughter launched a three-run homer in the eighth to bring LSU within a run, but Southeastern held on to win 5-4 in front of a rowdy capacity crowd of 3,101 people at Alumni Field in Hammond on Wednesday night.
LSU loaded the bases in the ninth inning, putting the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, but Hunter Feduccia grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to send the crowd home happy.
“Again we’re down 5-0, but typical of our team they fought back,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We had some terrific at-bats to get back in it. We had a chance there at the end, and like I told Hunter Feduccia, I’d take that situation 100 times again this year.”
Feduccia, the LSU cleanup hitter, saw Southeastern walk Antoine Duplantis in front of him to load the bases with one out. He guessed right on a 1-1 changeup, but couldn’t stay back on it enough. The turf field ensured no bad hops and the Lions doubled him up to the the game.
“The one before it was a changeup too, and I should have hit that one,” Feduccia said. “I was very confident. I wasn’t fazed at all. I just should have hit the pitch before that. That’s baseball.”
Southeastern notches its first win against LSU since beating the Tigers 6-3 at the old Alex Box Stadium in 2008. LSU had won 23 of the previous 24 meetings before Wednesday night.
LSU had earlier chances to take a lead against Koestler in the first and second innings, but stranded two men on base in each frame. Like so many good pitchers, it became a case of get to him early or not at all. Koestler retired eight Tigers in a row and 13 of 14 during a stretch from the third inning into the seventh.
The pitching wasn’t necessarily bad for Tigers considering LSU coach Paul Mainieri had to piece the game together out of his bullpen, but the opportunistic Lions scratched out all five of their runs with two outs, and that was plenty for Koestler.
Nick Bush got the Johnny Wholestaff approach off to a strong start for LSU with two scoreless innings, but embattled Sunday starter Todd Peterson took over in the third and couldn’t replicate his success.
Southeastern got on the board thanks to a two-out RBI single through the right side from Mike Taylor. Drew Avans hammered the next Peterson deep and gone to right field for a two-run homer to put the Lions ahead 3-0.
Mainieri confirmed after the game that Peterson won’t be making a start this Sunday in a rematch against Southeastern, though he declined to say who would until Thursday.
“That was him pitching to take a role on our team out of the bullpen,” Mainieri said bluntly. “There will be a different starting pitcher on Sunday, I just can’t say who yet.”
The Lions tacked on two more runs against Trent Vietmeier in the fifth despite two quick outs to begin the inning. A balk advanced two men into scoring position and Avans plated them with a two-run single up the middle.
LSU loaded the bases with one out against Koestler in the seventh inning. Daniel Cabrera got the Tigers on the board with a sacrifice fly to center, but Austin Bain flew out to deep right field to end the threat with minimal damage.
Strong relief efforts from Taylor Petersen and Devin Fontenot kept the deficit at four ahead of Slaughter’s blast. The inning started innocently enough with two quick outs before a Southeastern relieved hit both Beau and Bryce Jordan, setting the stage for Slaughter to crush one over the secondary fence in left-center field.
LSU will have a day to regroup before hosting three teams in as many days — including a Sunday rematch with Southeastern — at the Box on Friday night.