The road back from shoulder surgery is a long and painful one for a pitcher.
Ryan Eades made a big step in his recovery Tuesday night by firing a career-best six innings of two-hit, one-run baseball to earn a win over Tulane at Alex Box Stadium.
“I thought the highlight of the night was Ryan Eades,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He’s really getting better each passing outing.”
The Tigers (29-17) aided Eades’ effort with enough offense, some sparkling defense, and solid relief pitching in a 6-2 win, inching their winning streak to five games.
Eades (3-1) danced around some early control issues, stranding three Tulane runners in the first two frames.
Mikie Mahtook got the Tigers on the board with a solo homer just over the left field wall. The blast was his second in as many at bats dating back to Saturday’s win against Kentucky.
Unlike the Green Wave, LSU capitalized on Wade Konvica’s (2-1) wildness in the second.
Alex Edward and Austin Nola walked to open the frame, and Raph Rhymes executed a hit and run to perfection for an RBI single to right field, plating Edward.
Ty Ross’ safety squeeze bunt on the next pitch scored Nola and gave the Tigers a 3-0 advantage.
Rhymes, who moved to second on the bunt, stole third and scampered home on a Trey Watkins fly ball for LSU’s third run of the inning - on just one hit.
“I thought we might have to play a little small ball and make things happen because of the weather,” Mainieri said. “When Mikie hit that homerun, I was really happy, but we did make some things happen.”
Eades allowed just two base runners, both on walks, in the third, fourth and fifth frames, posting zeros in the process.
“I hate walking anybody,” Eades said. “I know I have a great defense behind me, and I just try to go out there and throw strikes. At times tonight I wasn’t able to do that, but I made some pitches when I had to.”
Nick Schaffer’s one-out rocket over the bleachers in left field was the only blemish on Eades’ otherwise dominant outing.
After his six innings Eades gave way to Kevin Berry and Jimmy Dykstra, who hurled perfect innings in the seventh and eighth.
Forrest Garrett ran into some trouble in the top of the ninth, allowing three hits and a run, but Matty Ott cleaned up the mess to finish off the season sweep of Tulane.
“It was a good effort by our guys, a good victory,” Maineri said. “It was a good way to finish our midweek schedule here at home.”
After downing the Wave, LSU turns its attention to the Tide. The Tigers begin a three-game series against Alabama in Hoover, Ala. on Friday night.