Jake Godfrey better in LSU's midweek win

Jake Godfrey fared much better Wednesday against Northwestern State than he had in his previous two outings, and LSU came away with a 9-6 victory over the Demons.

Jake Godfrey’s first start since (at least temporarily) falling out of the weekend rotation came with its bumps, but he’ll take the final result.

Godfrey earned the win Wednesday night as No. 3 LSU (29-5) came away with a 9-5 victory against Northwestern State (17-15). Godfrey did allow three runs in his five innings of work, but that’s a welcome change to his last two outings.

He’s just relieved to come away feeling good about a performance.

“I’m just going to keep building off this,” Godfrey said. “Confidence is everything.”

Godfrey had allowed four runs in each of his previous two starts against SEC opponents. He failed to get out of the second inning both times and recorded just one out last weekend against Alabama. That performance was the final straw, and Paul Mainieri opted to take him out of the Sunday spot in the rotation.

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Mainieri wanted to get Godfrey back on the mound as soon as possible though, choosing to throw him in his first midweek game of the year. Godfrey wasn’t at his best against the Demons, but Mainieri saw plenty of positives.

“It was better obviously than the last two outings, Mainieri said. “Once he got past the second inning, I didn’t know whether to light up a cigar and celebrate. I was just happy for the kid. It was a mental block he had to get past.”

It got off to an ominous start though. Godfrey hit a batter with his very first pitch. That runner came around to score after a sacrifice bunt, single and groundout.

NSU got two more runs off him with a home run by nine-hole hitter Garrett Logan, who entered the game hitting .176 and without a home run in his career. It seemed then like Tuesday’s start would follow a similar path to the previous two.

“Those things happen. I’ve been used to it this year,” Godfrey said. “But I just worked around it and worked through it.”

Godfrey settled down from there. He retired the next seven batters before a leadoff single in the fifth. He got the next three outs and exited the game with a 7-3 lead after five.

“As he continued to pitch, he got more and more comfortable,” Mainieri said. “It was exactly as we hoped. He threw about 50 pitches, and we wanted to take him out and still have him available for this weekend.”

It was a banner day for the LSU offense as well. The Tigers homered three times and surpassed the 14-hit mark for the third consecutive game. All but one player in the starting lineup recorded a hit, and five different Tigers drove in a run.

It all started with a game-tying solo home run by Chris Sciambra in the first inning.

LSU broke it open with four more in the second. Jared Foster had a one-out home run, and Grayson Byrd scored after two errors and a sacrifice fly. Alex Bregman drove in one with an RBI-double and Chris Chinea added another with a single to right.

Jake Fraley joined the home run party with a home run in the fourth, and Chinea drove in another run that inning on a groundout. He’d finish with three RBI after a run-scoring single in the seventh that made it 8-5 at the time.

Bregman brought in the last run in the eighth with his second hit of the night.

NSU did make it interesting after scoring a run in the ninth to make it 9-6. The Demons had the tying run at the plate with one out, but Parker Bugg got the next two to end the game.

“We found a way to win,” Mainieri said. “We held on at the very end…We’ll take the win and put it in our back pocket.”

LSU returns to action Friday night against Auburn, with first pitch set for 7 p.m. The weather forecasts do call for thunderstorms throughout the weekend though, so that will be something to watch closely.


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