After the Tigers fell behind 2-0 on
Tuesday, four LSU pitchers combined to successfully retire 20 of the final 22
Centenary only managed one hit after the third inning -- a solo homer in the ninth -- and fanned 12 times in the game. In four games this season, the Tigers have racked up 41 strikeouts, including eight by starting pitcher Louis Coleman on Tuesday night.
Coleman (1-0), a freshman from
"The good thing is he didn't panic, and he didn't rush to try to get people out," said head coach Smoke Laval. "He let it happen after that. I was very impressed, not only with him but the pitching the whole time."
LSU's 1-2 batters of Michael Hollander and Bruce Sprowl enjoyed a productive night going a combined 4-for-7 with six runs and two RBI. Third baseman Will Harris and first baseman J.T. Wise each collected two hits and a pair of RBI.
Coleman struggled early in the first, surrendering a one-out single followed by a RBI double from Matt Webb. Then in the second, Tim Ryan launched a leadoff solo blast over the right field wall to extend the Gents' lead to 2-0.
The leadoff man reached again in the third, but Coleman overcame it with back-to-back strikeouts and a caught stealing to retire the side.
Centenary starter Brandon Fulenchek (2-1) was cruising to his third perfect inning with two quick outs in LSU's half of the frame. The southpaw then issued back-to-back walks to Nick Pontiff and Hollander.
A groundball up the middle by
Sprowl was then fielded by shortstop Nate Santiago.
With the inning still in the balance and runners at first and second, Stewart delivered the key at-bat of the game, sending a three-run blast over the left-centerfield wall.
After four runs with two outs, LSU had swung the momentum of the game to take a 4-2 advantage.
"I was looking for something up and that is what he did," said Stewart. "He threw a changeup and I got a good swing on it. I think we settled down a bit once we got through the lineup one time."
The Tigers put up another four runs in the fifth on RBI singles from Wise and Kade Keowen and a two-run single from Harris.
Six runs in the seventh -- highlighted by a two-run Sprowl single – would clinch the LSU victory. Pontiff and fellow freshman Steven Broschofsky each picked up RBI singles.
Coleman gave way to the LSU bullpen in the sixth after exceeding the 100-pitch mark. The final three Tiger pitchers -- Darryl Shaffer, Ryan Byrd and Jonathan Wilhite -- combined to hold the Gents to a run on one hit in 3.1 innings.
Fulenchek was saddled with the loss, working 3.1 innings and allowing four runs on three hits.