LSU started quickly on Tuesday night in their 9-2 victory over Stephen F. Austin. While LSU handled the bats well throughout the evening, producing eleven hits and only leaving eight men stranded on the bases, the Tiger pitching staff struggled with control. LSU pitchers had seven walks on the night, with starter Brent Bonvillain being responsible for three of them in his four innings of work. Coach Paul Mainieri explained that all of his pitchers struggled with being around the strike zone consistently all night.
"It was very uncharacteristic of us tonight with our control in the pitching aspect," said Mainieri. "I think we walked seven guys or something. It usually takes us two weeks to walk that many guys. We just didn't have great command tonight."
While his pitching staff was plagued with walks on Tuesday night, Mainieri believes that they did enough in the game for LSU to claim a victory. Mainieri explained that it wasn't the fact that they were walking batters, but when they were walking them that became a problem.
"We made some big pitches when we needed to and we played good defense tonight," said Mainieri. "There were some good things. I think Bonvillain did some good things, but he, like the rest of the pitchers, walked some guys in some bad situations. We walked several leadoff guys tonight after we had just scored."
Regardless of the pitching performance, the LSU offense produced enough runs that there was never any doubt that the game was in hand. Mainieri explained that the Tigers put on a good display of clutch hitting on Tuesday night, which led to most of their runs being scored.
"In the end, we swung the bats well enough and got some big hits when we needed them," said Mainieri. "There were a lot of hits that opened things up for us tonight."
Mason Katz had a big night for the Tigers and got things rolling for the offense early with an RBI singled that scored Raph Rhymes in the bottom of the second inning. The hit by Katz opened up the floodgates for LSU as they were effective in producing runs from that point forward.
One player that was also productive at the plate for LSU on Tuesday was freshman Andrew Stevenson. In his first start of the season, Stevenson hit his first career home run in the third inning for the Tigers. He also added another single and a sacrifice bunt on the night.
Another new face that contributed in both aspects of the game was Chris Chinea, who got the start at catcher for LSU. Chinea was responsible for an RBI double late in the game for the Tigers.
"All of the new guys played well tonight," said Mainieri. "Chinea got into a ball tonight that he hit in the gap and Andrew Stevenson performed well with the homerun. He played great all-around for us tonight."
Although it wasn't as dominant a victory as Mainieri would have liked, he explained that the Tigers accomplished what he wanted them to tonight.
"It was mission accomplished in terms of getting guys some innings because you never know when you'll need them," said Mainieri. We had to get their feet wet."
LSU will now play Sacred Heart on Wednesday evening in a game that Nick Rumbelow will start. According to Mainieri, Rumbelow will only pitch a few innings in order to get some work in.
LSU defeats Stephen F. Austin 9-2
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