No. 4 LSU completed its sweep of Princeton with a 15-4 shellacking Saturday night. But the highlight of the evening came in the eighth inning, when Paul Mainieri let pitcher Kyle Bouman get an at-bat. LSU had already burned its designated hitter, so Mainieri had to send somebody up there.
Bouman got the call and legged out an infield single.
“It’s very likely that he’ll never get another at-bat,” Mainieri said. “So he’s going to finish the highest batting average in college baseball history.”
All jokes aside, LSU turned in one of its most complete performances of the season to finish off Princeton. LSU racked up 21 hits, played errorless defense and nearly shut out the opponent if not for a rough eighth inning.
That was LSU’s second win of the day after beating Princeton 8-2 in the first leg of Saturday’s doubleheader.
“I challenged the guys in between games,” Maineri said. “We hadn’t played up to our full potential, and we needed to put it all together for one game...I’m just really proud of the guys. That was a really complete effort.”
LSU did most of its damage offensively in three big innings.
The Tigers dropped five in the third inning. Alex Bregman drove in one with a triple then scored on a wild pitch. Kade Scivicque scored one with a double off the left field wall. Another came in after an error by the Princeton left fielder, and Danny Zardon contributed the fifth with an RBI-single.
LSU scored another run in the fourth before erupting for five more in the fifth with a pair of home runs. Jared Foster destroyed a three-run shot to deep left-center field, and Bregman went yard two at-bats later with a two-run homer to left.
LSU didn’t need any more cushion, but the Tigers got four more in the seventh. Chris Chinea brought one in with a single to left. Mike Papierski drove in a pair with a single to right, and Chris Sciambra’s double to the right field corner plated one more.
That made it 15-0 after seven innings.
Meanwhile, LSU got another gem from freshman Alex Lange. He lasted a career-long six innings, surrendering just three hits and no runs with six strikeouts. Princeton only got one runner into scoring position against him, but Blake Thomsen struck out in the next at-bat to end any semblance of a threat.
“Alex is exciting to watch,” Mainieri said. “He’s the whole package. You hate to give such superlatives to a kid that’s just starting out, but it’s going to be exciting to watch him as he goes through his career.”
The only blemish on the night came in the eighth when Russell Reynolds surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk with a wild pitch.
But that didn’t have much effect on the final outcome, as LSU cruised to the easy victory.
LSU has two days off before returning to action Tuesday for a midweek showdown with Stephen F. Austin. LSU plays Grambling the following day before heading to Houston for three games starting Friday.
LSU took Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader with Princeton, 7-2, riding a four-run second inning to the victory.
All four of those runs came on one swing from Jake Fraley, who continued his hot weekend at the plate. With the bases loaded after three walks in the inning, Fraley drilled a two-out triple to left field. The relay throw to third rolled into the dugout, allowing Fraley to score on the error.
That made it 5-2 at the time, and LSU would tack one two more runs while holding Princeton scoreless the rest of the way.
It was a much better offensive night for LSU after the Tigers totaled just four hits in Friday’s series opener. LSU had 10 hits in Game 1 Saturday, four of which went for extra bases.
For Fraley, he continues to roll after getting back in the starting lineup these last three games. He’s gone 7-for-13 at the plate with six RBI and five extra base-hits since the win against Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday. He finished Saturday’s first game with a pair of triples, the 13th player in LSU history to do that in a game and the second this season.
“He’s hot right now,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He’s not taking many bad swings. He’s squaring it up, even his outs are hit hard. He’s an electric player…I’m not surprised at all [that he’s playing so well.”
LSU struck first in Game 1 with a run in the first. Fraley tripled to start the inning, and Mark Laird drove him home with a single up the middle in the next at-bat.
Princeton would jump back in front in the next half-inning though.
Jake Godfrey walked the first two batters he faced in the second. DH Peter Owens reached on an error by Danny Zardon to load the bases with one out. 3B Chad Powers, who was Princeton’s starting pitcher Friday, delivered a two-run single to left.
But Princeton’s lead would be short-lived as LSU responded with Fraley’s four-run triple in the bottom of that inning.
Those two runs were the only blemishes on Godfrey’s third career start. He went a season-long 5 2/3 innings, surrendering six hits and two unearned runs with three strikeouts, three walks and a balk.
“There’s always improvement,” Godfrey said. “I want to be better. I haven’t been my best yet...I get more confident every week.”
Hunter Newman replaced him in the sixth and struck out three in 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball. Kyle Bouman finished off the game, stranding a pair of base runners in the ninth.
Meanwhile, LSU would get two more insurance runs — one on a double by Conner Hale in the third, the other on a single by Andrew Stevenson in the fifth.