By Alissa Cavaretta, LSU Athletic Communications
BATON ROUGE — With the score tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth and freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo on third, catcher Brock Mathis dropped a single into left field to propel the No. 1 LSU baseball team to a 6-5 win against Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the win, LSU improves to 4-0 on the season while Southeastern drops to 0-4.
The Tigers return to action Friday to begin a three-game series against Bryant in The Box. Friday’s game will be available online only through the SEC Network+, which is accessible through Watch ESPN and the Watch ESPN app.
“We were very fortunate to scratch across the runs that we did tonight because it was not a stellar offensive performance by any stretch of the imagination,” head coach Paul Mainieri said. “Fortunately our bullpen came in and did a terrific job for us starting with (Matthew) Beck and (Devin) Fontenot and (Todd) Peterson at the end. Obviously, Giovanni (DiGiacomo) was a big spark plug for us coming off the bench, putting the ball in play and stealing a bag. Chris Reid did a phenomenal job coming off of the bench and putting the bunt down. It was good that we eked out the victory although it wasn’t a thing of beauty.”
Right-hander Todd Peterson improved to 2-0 on the year after firing the final 1.1 innings with two strikeouts.
Freshman Cole Henry made his first career start and gave up four runs—three earned—on seven hits, with three walks and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.
Chase Costello, Matthew Beck and Devin Fontenot combined for five no-hit innings, walking two and striking out three.
Southeastern reliever Jared Biddy suffered the loss and dropped to 0-2 on the year after throwing two innings and allowing one run on two hits. Trey Shaffer, the Lions’ starter threw six innings and allowed five runs—four earned—on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
In the top of the first inning with second baseman Brennan Breaud on first after a one-out single to right field, designated hitter Preston Faulkner doubled to right field. Breaud reached third on the double and then scored on the fielding error by the left fielder to take the early 1-0 lead.
With runners on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the first after shortstop Josh Smith led off the inning with a single to left field and left fielder Daniel Cabrera drew a walk, center fielder Zach Watson slapped an infield single to shortstop to bring home Smith. In the next at-bat designated hitter Saul Garza knocked a single to right field off the end of his bat, scoring Cabrera to give the Tigers the 2-1 edge.
Southeastern tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the second when left fielder Nick Ray homered to left field.
In the bottom of the second, LSU third baseman Hal Hughes was hit by a pitch with one out. A single by Smith moved the runners to first and second, and Hughes scored on back-to-back wild pitches by Shaffer, bringing LSU ahead 3-2.
With runners on first and second after a walk and a fielder’s choice, Ray ripped a two-RBI double to left-center with two outs in the top of the third inning to bring Southeastern ahead 4-3.
The Tigers evened the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the third when first baseman Drew Bianco doubled down the left field line, which scored Garza who drew a two-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch earlier in the inning.
Faulkner led off the top of the fourth inning with a double down the left field line, moved to third on a ground out and scored on right fielder Nathan Pilutti’s ground ball to the pitcher, and Southeastern had the 5-4 lead against LSU after four innings.
After Smith was hit by pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh, second baseman Brandt Broussard dropped a bunt and reached on an error to put Tigers in scoring position. Right fielder Antoine Duplantis put the ball in play and grounded out to the pitcher to drive in Smith and tie the score, 5-5.
Pinch hitter DiGiacomo started the bottom of the eighth with a single to left field and stole second. A sacrifice bunt by Chris Reid moved the DiGiacomo to third, and the freshman scored on Mathis’ bloop single to left to make it a 6-5 game.