Not many recipes turn out 100% perfect. LSU concocted one on Tuesday, though.
The Tigers tuned up for a sizable showdown at Mississippi State on the last weekend of the 2017 regular season by clipping Northwestern State 9-3 at Alex Box Stadium and all the ingredients blended together flawlessly.
Three home runs – Greg Deichmann, Zach Watson and Kramer Robertson – were the backbone of a 14-hit attack and LSU got a promising 5-inning start from freshman Todd Peterson to subdue the Demons.
Peterson allowed four hits in his 59-pitch outing and just one run, the result of back-to-back doubles with two outs in the 3rd inning. Other than that brief hiccup, Peterson was in complete command with 6 strikeouts against 20 batters.
It didn’t hurt that the Tigers (36-17) staked Peterson to a lead as soon as they got the chance.
With one out in the bottom of the 1st inning, Cole Freeman poked a single to center field and stole second. Antoine Duplantis flew out to deep center field to move Freeman up a base and Deichmann made the trip home an easy one when he hammered his 17th home run of the season to right-center field.
Neither LSU nor Peterson had to sweat long.
Tigers’ shortstop blistered a leadoff double to center field in the bottom of the frame and motored to second when Demons’ reliever Devin Bear mishandled Freeman’s bunt. Duplantis chased in Robertson with another deep flyout to center and Nick Coomes gave LSU a second two-run inning with a two-out bloop single to center field.
Watson muscled up for the second time in as many games, blasting a two-run bomb to center field to nudge the lead to 6-1 in the 4th inning.
A walk and a scratch single were all Peterson permitted in his last two innings and neither runner posed much of a threat. The Demons’ only other runs came on Austin Townsend’s two-run homer off of LSU reliever Will Reese to close the gap to 6-3.
As was the case earlier, the Tigers responded immediately. Robertson whacked his second double with two outs in the 6th and Duplantis chased him around with a double to right-center. Northwestern turned the relay throw to the infield into a three-ring circus, with two errors allowing Duplantis to race around for an 8-3 cushion.
Robertson supplied the final run when he cracked a solo home run in the 8th inning.
The top third of the LSU batting order – Robertson, Freeman and Duplantis – provided 8 hits, 6 runs and 3 RBIs.
Now the focus shifts to Mississippi State and a series that begins Thursday night at Dudy Noble Field. The Tigers lead the Bulldogs by a game in the West Division, so one win clinches at least a tie for the division championship. Winning the series earns LSU the division and a sweep could yield the outright league title.