If the memories of Tre’ Morgan and Will Hellmers are correct, their New Orleans-area baseball battles against each other starting in elementary school all the way through their high school games were built on respect and admiration.
“The way he (Morgan) makes plays over at first base is something really incredible to watch,” said Hellmers, a former Jesuit star. “Then, watch him at the plate and he’s even better.”
“I know Will is going to compete every time he gets on the mound,” said Morgan, a former Brother Martin standout. “In high school, I knew every at-bat was going to be a battle against him.”
Wednesday night as LSU freshman teammates, Morgan and Hellmers joined forces as the hitting and pitching sparks in the 18th ranked Tigers’ 5-0 road shutout over UNO in Maestri Field.
Morgan went 3-for-4 with two RBis, a stolen base and a triple for the third consecutive game. Hellmers improved his record to 3-1 as he hurled five shutout innings as LSU’s starter, striking out seven and walking one.
“Morgan really created most of the offense for us,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We scored five runs, he knocked it two and scored two.
“I expected that out of Will. He got the ball in the big games at Jesuit High and in legion ball and he delivered. He’s just got that `it’ factor about him that gets the job done.”
Both LSU (11-3) and UNO (5-7) had eight hits each and didn’t have sparkling nights at the plate. Eight Privateers’ pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts while four LSU pitchers struck out 12.
The Tigers were able to provide just enough offense because seven hits, four RBI and four runs (two runs each in the third and fifth innings) came from leadoff hitter (freshman right fielder Dylan Crews), 2-hole batter (Morgan) and 4-hole cleanup hitter (junior and New Orleans native Cade Beloso, a former John Curtis High star).
Crews and Morgan delivered singles in the LSU third with Morgan scoring sophomore catcher Alex Milazzo. Beloso’s sacrifice fly scored Crews.
In the LSU fifth, Crews singled to lead off the inning, scored on Morgan’s triple and two batters later Beloso’s RBI double brought home Morgan for a 4-0 lead.
LSU got just one run the rest of the way and it was all Morgan’s doing. He singled, advanced to second on a balk, stole third base and scored on a wild pitch.
In his last seven games, Morgan is batting .480 (12 for 25) with 11 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one homer, three triples (one each in his last three games), three doubles and two stolen bases.
“I go out and play every game like it’s my last,” Morgan said. “I’ve been doing that since travel ball and it carried to college. That’s how I’ve been playing my whole life.”
UNO had a base runner advance a base runner to third base just once which came in the eighth inning.
The Tigers swing back in action Friday night at 7, playing the first of a three-games series vs. Texas-San Antonio. LSU was supposed play UTSA on Friday and Sunday with Baylor as a Saturday opponent. But the Bears cancelled Wednesday when they were able to schedule a home series.