Anthony Ranaudo had been waiting for a night like Friday for some time.
“Everybody knew we had this in us on a Friday night,” he said. “We had too good of a talented team for this not to happen.”
Of course, pitching with run support in game one is something that the New Jersey native, unfortunately, has not become accustomed to during his sophomore campaign from the hill.
With a ten run lead after the third frame, Ranaudo realized that his night would not be playing out in its’ typical fashion.
“I had a lot more time between innings, so it was tough to decide if I needed to throw to stay warm or what,” he said.
“I also think I got to attack a lot of guys in the middle of the game with some early fastballs. With a big lead I tried to get a lot over the plate early.”
Jared Mitchell led the way from the plate with a homerun and a career-high five RBI.
Designated hitter Blake Dean went 4-for-4 on the night, keeping his bat hot despite the cold start to his junior campaign.
“Thing are getting into focus for me, and I feel like I am hitting like I was this time last year,” he said. “Baseball is a tricky game, so I can’t put a finger on why I started so slow.
“I just know now that I have to get in there and call each day a new day and keep swinging the bat.”
Of course, Friday night saw a number of Tigers get hot from the plate, including hits on the night from eight of LSU’s nine starting batters.
“I was very pleased with the focus and intensity we played with tonight,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I really like the aggressiveness we showed at the plate. We didn’t give away any at-bats throughout the game.”
Despite the big appearance from the plate, Mainieri chalked the game up as no different than any other.
“It still just counts as one win,” he said. “If you win by 15, or if you win by one, it all counts the same. We have to come out [Saturday] ready to face a new challenge.”
After LSU scored ten runs over the first three frames, Tennessee was able to bounce back in the fourth.
Blake Forsyth drew a walk from Ranaudo before P.J. Polke doubled to right center. Tyler Horne homered a 1-0 pitch to left field, closing the gap to 10-3.
The Tigers would strike again in the fifth, sixth and eight innings while holding the Tennessee bats to no runs over the final five frames.
With Arkansas’ 4-3 loss to Georgia Friday night, the Tigers moved into first place in the SEC Western Division, one-half game ahead of the Razorbacks.
LSU and Tennessee will be back in action Saturday at 1 p.m. CT. The Tigers will send senior right-hander Louis Coleman (8-1, 2.38 ERA) to the mound, while the Vols will counter with junior left-hander Nick Hernandez (2-4, 5.29 ERA).