Anytime a pitcher can strike out four batters in an inning, you can guess he's in for a pretty good night. Junior pitcher Alex Lange had one of those pretty good nights for LSU in the Tigers' 6-1 win over Maryland on Friday night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The Tigers' ace went six innings, giving up six hits, an earned run and two walks on 88 pitches. Lange's season ERA now sits at 0.82.
The Big 10 preseason favorite's ace Brian Shaffer came into this game with a 1.80 ERA after his 5-inning performance in the Terrapin's game against Ball State on Feb. 17, where he earned a no-decision.
The 3rd inning got away from Shaffer as the Tigers' bats got hot, scoring three runs, which was all the Tigers needed. Antoine Duplantis drove Brennan Breaux in to open the scoring before Kramer Robertson and Jake Slaughter drove in two more runs.
Shaffer's night finished up with 6.2 innings, six hits, three walks and six strikeouts, but Maryland dropped the ball on Duplantis' deep drive to center and that opened the door in the third inning for the Tigers to make their early push.
Todd Peterson replaced Lange and went 1.2 innings and gave up three hits while striking out two before Paul Mainieri called on Hunter Newman to close things out.
LSU's bats weren't done yet though. In the 8th, Smith was hit by a pitch and Rankin Woley singled to get on base. Michael Papierski ripped off his first home run of the year, bringing in three more runs.
Once LSU broke it open, Mainieri brought in pitcher Austin Bain to close out the game, wanting to save Newman for more work on Saturday or Sunday. Bain walked two batters and threw a wild pitch, but struck out two to end the game.
LSU returns to the field on Saturday for Game 2 against Maryland at 2 p.m. CT with senior pitcher Jared Poche on the mound, who will look to follow up his no-hitter performance last Saturday against Army.