LSU takes care of Sacred Heart, 8-1

Not many fans showed up for LSU's game against Sacred Heart on Wednesday, but the Tigers certainly did, handling the Pioneers for an 8-1 victory on a chilly night.

No. 7 LSU handled its business on a chilly Wednesday night, defeating Sacred Heart, 8-1, at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (10-2) fell behind early, but rode a four-run second inning to victory. The LSU pitchers surrendered just five hits and struck out 10 to hold down the Pioneer (2-2) offense, while seven different hitters drove in runs for LSU.

"I was nervous as can be about this game going in," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, citing Sacred Heart's series win against Tulane this past weekend. "This was a good win for us."

Sacred Heart jumped ahead in the first inning with a solo home run off Brady Domangue, who made the first start of his LSU career. Domangue had struck out the first batter he faced, but left a pitch up in the zone that Sacred Heart RF Jayson Sullivan cleared over the left field wall.

"It was a ball that I left up," Domangue said. "It was a mistake, and he hit it. He was supposed to hit that ball. It happens, but the main thing is to shake it off. Solo home runs don't kill you, and I just wanted to get back in there and keep throwing strikes."

The Pioneers didn't have much luck off Domangue after that though. He went three innings, his longest outing of the year, and surrendered three hits after the home run and stranded both runners that would reach scoring position.

"Whenever they put up that one run, the main thing was to go back out there and throw zeroes from there on out," Domangue said. "I got that first inning out of the way, and then when I threw up those two zeroes back-to-back, I was fired up. It was a big confidence booster."

The LSU offense would respond quickly after falling into that early deficit. The Tigers erupted for four runs in the second inning and never looked back once they took the lead.

Kade Scivicique got the big inning started after getting hit by a pitch. Christian Ibarra followed that with a walk, and Andrew Stevenson loaded the bases with a single to left. Kramer Robertson tied it up with a full-count single through the left side of the infield, and Chris Chinea, who came in hitting just .120, smashed a two-run double to right-center.

Chris Chinea drove in a run to help ease his slump
"Balls haven't been landing, but I got the job done," Chinea said. "It's baseball. Balls are going to fall. Balls are going to get caught. Today I got a good piece of hitting in and I'm glad I helped the team win."

LSU would tack on one more run in that second inning with a sacrifice fly by Sean McMullen. The Tigers added a pair in the next inning as Scivicque and Stevenson each drove in runs.

The LSU reserves came in the eighth and tacked on two more runs. Chris Sciambra drove in one with a single to right, and Jarrett DeHart walked in another.

With a comfortable lead, LSU rode its solid pitching the rest of the way. Zac Person relieved his former LSU-Eunice teammate in the fourth and retired the side with a pair of strikeouts. He got into a bit of a jam in the fifth though, as Sacred Heart loaded the bases with two outs. But Person got the next batter to whiff and evaded trouble.

"[Pitching] coach [Alan] Dunn called a meeting and just told me to bear down," Person said. "He said I'm going to get this guy, and that was really it. I just had to bear down and get it."

Nate Fury, Kurt McCune and Henri Faucheaux combined to pitch the final four frames and didn't allow a base runner. That was a welcome change after the LSU bullpen surrendered four runs in a loss Sunday against Yale.

That bullpen will continue to be challenged though as Wednesday's contest marked the beginning of a stretch of five games in five days, with seven in the next eight.

"Our bullpen's really going to be tested in this next period of time," Mainieri said. "And I thought today they passed with flying colors."

The Tigers return to action Thursday afternoon, with a road game against Northwestern State. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but icy roads prevented LSU from leaving Baton Rouge. Jared Poche will take the mound for the Tigers, with first pitch set for 3 p.m.


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