Mid-week games sometimes lack the sizzle and drama that LSU and other SEC teams regularly encounter for three games on the weekend, and that was bound to be the case Tuesday when the 8th-ranked Tigers tangled with overmatched Southern at Alex Box Stadium.
But the cross-town Jaguars pushed back just enough early in the game to make things interesting, and freshman Tyler Moore came off the bench to provide a memorable – albeit a little bizarre – highlight in LSU’s 15-5 romp.
|Austin Nola: Collects three of LSU's 18 hits in 15-5 victory|
The Tigers (17-4) racked up 18 hits, their second most in a game this season, with six starters and Moore each supplying at least two apiece and nine pitchers got a turn on the mound for LSU.
Austin Nola led the way with three singles, and Mason Katz shook out of an eight-game funk without multiple hits by going 2-for-3 with a two-run double that gave the Tigers the lead for good.
“We were great coming out here (Tuesday),” Katz said. “A lot of people might’ve thought our minds were on losing. But we came out here with a new attitude.”
LSU scratched out only one run in a Sunday loss to Mississippi State and struggled to string hits together.
That was never an issue Tuesday as the Tigers went to work right away against Southern freshman John Thigpen.
With two on and two outs after JaCoby Jones singled and Katz walked, LSU got three straight two-out run-producing hits from Ty Ross, Tyler Hanover and Nola to jump in front 3-0.
Southern (9-11) didn’t go quietly, though, with a throwing error on Hanover and back-to-back two-out run-scoring singles knotting the score 3-3.
While that might not have been exactly what the script called for, the Jags pushing back seemed to spur the Tigers.
“Every time we scored the first few innings, they scored, and that was good for us to let guys not get in a lull,” Katz said.
No problem there.
Sparked by Katz’s two-run two-bagger in the second, LSU scored in every inning except the sixth and never went down in order.
The Tigers’ assault wasn’t necessarily explosive, with single runs coming on Chris Sciambra’s single, a pretty Raph Rhymes’ hit-and-run base hit and then Sciambra’s squeeze bunt. Moore chased in a run with a bloop double in the fifth, but he was just getting warmed up.
|Tyler Moore: Circled the bases for his first career HR on a ball Southern outfielders played into an inside-the-parker.|
In the seventh inning, Nola collected his third hit off Southern reliever Daniel Garcia to start the frame and Sciambra reached base for the third time on an error with one out. Moore rammed the first pitch he got into the right-center field gap and all the way to the fence.
Nola and Sciambra scored easily, and as Moore was gaining momentum around second base, Southern outfielders David Wright and Taylor Ray converged where the ball was wedged between the warning track and the fence.
Both outfielders threw their arms in the air to signal the ball was unplayable, but all the while third-base coach Javi Sanchez waved Moore around the bases.
“Right off the bat, I was thinking triple, so I was going as hard as I could,” Moore said. “As I was rounding second, Coach Javi kept sending me so I kept chugging.”
Moore scored without a throw, but at first umpire Mark Chapman seemed like he was going to side with the outfielders. LSU coach Paul Mainieri trotted out to protest, and after the umpires conferred, Chapman twirled his right index finger to signal a home run – the first or Moore’s career.
“In our ground rules, if a ball is hit and looks like it’s stuck out there, it’s really not,” Mainieri said. “The rule is he has to go get the ball. The umpires made the right call.”
Just as important as the three runs Moore’s quirky homer produced was his aggressive and powerful cut, something Mainieri has been looking for.
“I’ve been waiting for that swing for quite some time,” Mainieri said. “I want to get more of a left-handed presence in our lineup, and we’ve been waiting for him to do something.
“Now this gives me something to consider.”
Like several mid-week games before, Tuesday’s game was another chance for Mainieri to give several pitchers game experience. Of the nine Tigers who took the mound, none threw more than 2 innings, with Joe Broussard getting his second win after taking over for Cody Glenn in the second inning.
|Carson Baranik made his college debut Tuesday with a scoreless inning of relief in the Tigers' win against Southern.|
The most notable appearance was by freshman Carson Baranik, who logged a scoreless but eventful sixth inning in his college debut.
The former Parkway-Bossier City star missed the first 20 games after being arrested for driving under the influence right before the season. His first six pitches Tuesday were out of the strike zone, prompting a visit from pitching coach Alan Dunn. After that, Baranik retired three Jaguars in order.
“My adrenalin was going a little bit,” he said. “It was good (Dunn) came out there right then. He settled me down and I felt good after that.
“It wasn’t my greatest outing, but I got my feet wet and finished strong and hopefully I can help the team out down the road.”
That road continues Friday when the Tigers play their first SEC series away from home with a three-game set at Auburn.