There are always a few days over the course of a baseball season when the work day is a grind and just getting through is the primary goal. Kind of like that first Monday after a long vacation.
LSU had that day against Alcorn State at Alex Box Stadium on Tuesday, the first game of a busy week for a suddenly surging team.
The third-ranked Tigers survived, plugging past the outmanned Braves 7-2. It won’t be a game that will provide a bunch of scrapbook material, though.
Not that it was all bad.
p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify; margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Sophomore Joe Broussard showed the ability to stretch himself out as a starting pitcher with 6.1 solid innings. Reliever Nick Rumbelow logged 1.1 innings, throwing as well as he has all season, anchored by an inning-ending strikeout when Alcorn (7-26) had the tying run on third base.
|Joe Broussard: Logs 6.1 innings on the way to his 4th victory of the season.|
Offensively, the night was a struggle for the most part as LSU (26-7) managed only eight hits. Jordy Snikeris and Mason Katz cranked out solo home runs – the first of Snikeris’ Division I career and Katz’s team-best 6th of the season. Late in the game, Tyler Moore, Ty Ross and Tyler Hanover delivered RBI singles.
Otherwise, though, there went plenty of missed chances for a team that seemed a little hungover from winning a series at then No. 1-ranked Florida.
“The best thing you can say about this game is it’s over,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We can put it in the books.”
“Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come without (left fielder Raph Rhymes) in the lineup. Other guys need to step it up and take responsibility.”
LSU never trailed Alcorn, which staggered through a weekend sweep at Southern Miss when it got outscored 39-10. The Tigers meet the Golden Eagles at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Metairie in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic.
But there also was never a huge sigh-of-relief moment that was expected against a SWAC foe that has struggled to compete all season.
Snikeris put the Tigers in front in the second inning when he clubbed a 1-and-0 offering from Braves starter Cedric Pomerlee into the left-field bleachers – his sixth hit in eight at-bats.
Alcorn responded, though, when Broussard struggled for the only time all night, allowing a leadoff single, issuing a one-out walk and then a two-out RBI hit to Joshua Powell that knotted the score 1-1.
The Tigers couldn’t erupt against Pomerlee, but did finally jump back on top in the fifth inning. After Pomerlee walked Hanover and Katz, Austin Nola pumped a single to right field to load the bases with no outs. Ross socked a sacrifice fly to center field and Moore’s squeeze bunt plated a second run for a 3-1 cushion.
Alcorn’s Eduardo Gonzales touched Broussard up for a prodigious solo homer to open the seventh inning and Jann Butler followed by doubling off the right-field fence. Broussard struck out Angel Rosa for the first out – his career-best 8th K – and then gave way to Kevin Berry.
Berry fanned Antolin Morales, but walked Christian Hickman, with ball four scooting past Ross to allow Butler to scoot to third base. Mainieri called on Rumbelow, who promptly struck out Gabriel Lebron to quell the threat.
That allowed Broussard to notch his fourth win of the season.
“I just wanted to throw strikes and keep the ball down and give my chance a team to win,” Broussard said, adding the close game helped him stay focused.
“It kind of kept my head on straight. I wasn’t sitting in the dugout long and was able to get back out there and work at my own pace.”
|Mason Katz: Pumps his 6th home run to start the 7th inning, give LSU some breathing room.|
The LSU bats supplied some breathing room with two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth frames. Katz led off the seventh with an opposite-field bomb and Nola reached on a two-base error. Ross bunted him to third and Moore fisted a two-out single over the mound that the Braves’ defense couldn’t handle to score Nola.
In the eighth inning, Arby Fields reached when he was hit by a pitch to begin the fame. He stole second and third and trotted home when Hanover rammed a base hit over the second baseman’s head. Nola walked – his third free pass of the night – to extend the inning with two outs and Ross produced the final run when he ripped a single through the middle.
“This was a game where we had to come out and play hard and pitch well,” Broussard said. “It’s a win and we’ll take it.”