It’s mission accomplished for No. 4 LSU in its two midweek contests.
The Tigers (12-1) handled Grambling, 7-1, on Wednesday for its second win in as many days after defeating Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday. LSU fell behind early Wednesday but rallied back and cruised the rest of the way behind another stellar performance from the pitching staff.
The offense chipped in11 hits, and the Tigers head to the Houston College Classic this weekend, which will serve as their biggest test of the season.
But Grambling came out strong Wednesday to provide its own challenge to LSU.
Freshman Doug Norman made his third career start and surrendered a leadoff single. 2B Dee Brown advanced the runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and SS Larry Barraza brought him in with a base hit to center.
But Norman settled in after that. He retired the next two batters to get out of the first without any more damage. He worked around a single and an error in the second, and threw up another scoreless inning in the third despite two more hits.
He worked a perfect fourth to end his game and record his first career win.
“Doug did alright,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He gave up some hits, but I thought his last inning was his best inning. He handled himself alright. Balls they hit found some holes…but overall I thought he performed alright.”
LSU responded with a two-run second inning after falling behind in the first.
Andrew Stevenson drew a leadoff walk and stole second. Kade Scivicque drove him home with a double to right-center. Jake Fraley got a double of his own two at-bats later to bring in Scivicque.
That made it 2-1, and Grambling kept it a one-run game until LSU cushioned its lead in the sixth.
Alex Bregman singled to start the inning and stole second. Conner Hale brought him home with a triple to deep center, helped out by a drop from the center fielder. Stevenson would plate another with a groundout to first.
LSU would add two more runs in the seventh with an RBI-single by Grayson Byrd, and an RBI-double by Bregman. The Tigers tacked on one more in the eighth on a solo home run by Jared Foster, his second of the season.
Meanwhile the LSU bullpen remained stingy.
Grambling didn’t get a hit after the third inning, and they only managed one base runner. The LSU relievers haven’t allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings, dating back to the series finale against Princeton.
“Our bullpen is going to tell the tale of our season,” Mainieri said. “So far I like what I’m seeing.”
LSU will now head to Houston for a three-game weekend. The Tigers open Friday at 7 p.m. against Houston, who eliminated LSU from the NCAA Tournament in 2014. LSU faces Nebraska Saturday at 3 p.m. and finishes against Baylor, Sunday at 11 a.m.
LSU pitchers dominate in 7-1 win vs Grambling
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