LSU (35-3) hosted Grambling State (14-22) on Wednesday night for a game that most thought would be out of hand within the early innings. However, Grambling starting pitcher Cory Jordan came out looking to make a statement against the Bayou Bengals.
LSU collected only three hits in their 4-0 victory over the Tigers, with one of those being a two-run homerun by Christian Ibarra in the sixth inning. Following the game, LSU coach Paul Mainieri was a bit surprised by what he saw out of Grambling on Wednesday night.
"The quality of their starting pitcher surprised us tonight. He was 88-91 and he threw a really good curveball with downward trajectory. Some of our players were saying how he reminded them of Anthony Ranaudo a little bit."
Ibarra echoed the statements of Mainieri by explaining just how productive and efficient Jordan was for Grambling State.
"He was like a good Sunday starter," explained Ibarra. "That curveball surprised me in my first at-bat. He was doing really good. He was just mixing pitches really well. He was throwing a bunch of curveballs. He was overpowering with his fastball."
Two of the runs that the LSU offense produced were as a result of a two-out error by Grambling on a dropped fly ball. Mainieri admitted after the game that he, along with the team, was guilty of looking past an opponent.
"I'm as guilty as the players," said Mainieri. I think it just caught us off guard and we weren't prepared to go out and compete against a guy like that. We got a couple of gift runs early in the game."
While the LSU offense was virtually nonexistent in the game, the pitching staff was very efficient. The Tigers threw ten pitchers on the night, none of which allowed a run to cross home plate. They also only surrendered three hits on the night. For Mainieri, that was key to the LSU victory.
"Fortunately, we pitched great," said Mainieri. "I just can't say enough about the job that Alan Dunn has done. He has our guys ready to play. We made some great plays and threw a shutout. I don't know too many teams that lose when you shut someone out."
Ibarra, who had the two-run homerun to cap things off for the Tigers, knew that his hit would provide some cushion for the Tigers. However, when he hit the ball, he had no idea that it left the park.
"It just gave us a little more cushion," said Ibarra. "We just had to go out there and make the plays. It made our pitchers feel confident."
"As I rounded first base, I saw the guy touch the wall and I realized it was gone…I thought it was a pop up. I yelled 'dangit' after I hit it."
There were a couple of members of the pitching staff that Mainieri praised for their performances on Wednesday. He was very happy to see Will LaMarche bounce back with a good performance after suffering through his worst outing of the season against Arkansas. LaMarche threw two thirds of an inning and recorded two strikeouts while he was in the game.
Mainieri also saw some positive things from Kurt McCune, who is still on the road back from a back injury that he suffered earlier in the year. McCune was the second pitcher to enter the game for LSU and he threw two innings, giving up two hits while not issuing a walk.
"I though Kurt was pretty good, but he has a little ways to go," said Maineiri. "Will threw well tonight and I was glad to get him in the game for some work tonight.
With his performance tonight, LaMarche felt as though a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. He explained that it helped to restore his confidence after his outing at Arkansas.
"Last week left bad taste in my mouth," said LaMarche. "I went out there tonight and threw well enough to get rid of that bad feeling about my last outing."
LSU will now travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide of Alabama for a series beginning on Friday night.
LSU escapes with a 4-0 victory over Grambling
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