LSU baseball opens series with 13-4 win over Vanderbilt
BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 14 LSU (20-9, 5-5 SEC) used a seven-inning shutout performance by junior southpaw Jared Poche and a seven-run third inning to defeat second-ranked Vanderbilt (24-6, 6-4 SEC), 13-4, in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference series Thursday evening at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Poche’ fired seven innings of scoreless baseball to improve to 4-3 on the year. The Lutcher, La., native struck out eight to tie a career high and limited the Commodores to four hits.
The LSU hitters exploded for 15 runs in the game against the Vanderbilt pitching staff, which holds the second-best ERA in the SEC. Leftfielder Beau Jordan and first baseman Greg Deichmann led the way for LSU with three hits apiece.
“If we could play the way we played tonight every day, we’d be undefeated,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was just a tremendous team effort and a terrific way to start this series. Unfortunately, in baseball, you can’t sit back and enjoy a win for a week over the second-ranked team in the country. We have to get right back at it tomorrow against another very talented pitcher.”
LSU and Vanderbilt return for Game 2 of the three-game series at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The game will be carried on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network, including WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.
Live audio of the games may be accessed at www.LSUsports.net/live with live stats at www.LSUstats.com. Friday’s game will also be televised on ESPNU and accessible at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app.
Sophomore right-hander Alex Lange will start on the mound for LSU, while Vanderbilt will counter with sophomore right-hander Kyle Wright.
“I could sense during batting practice that our team was really ready to play,” Mainieri said. “There was an intensity there that gave me confidence that we would play at a high level. Our offense tonight was tremendous throughout the lineup; our approach at the plate was very well conceived and executed. Jared Poche’ was phenomenal on the mound and set the tone early for us to have a strong performance.”
Rightfielder Antoine Duplantis led off the game with an infield single and advanced to third on an error by the second baseman. Duplantis scored the Tigers’ first run on an RBI groundout by centerfielder Jake Fraley. LSU made it a 2-0 game in the second on a sac fly by catcher Michael Papierski.
The Tigers batted around and put up seven runs in the third inning off of Vanderbilt starter Jordan Sheffield. With runners on first and second, Deichmann blasted a double off the wall in center field to score one run.
Shortstop Kramer Robertson followed with a one-out single up the middle to score Fraley and Beau Jordan lifted a two-run home run to left field to make it a 6-0 game.
With a runner on first, second baseman Cole Freeman cranked a two-out triple down the left field line to push the lead to 8-0. With Freeman at third, Duplantis singled up the middle to punctuate the seven-run frame.
LSU added another run in the sixth off the bat of Deichmann. With a runner on third, the junior shot a single up the middle to plate Duplantis.
In the eighth inning, the Tigers extended their lead to 13-0. After back-to-back single by pinch hitter Brody Wofford and Fraley, pinch hitter Bryce Jordan lined a ball off the glove of the third baseman, and it ricocheted into the left field corner. The play, which cleared the bases, was ruled an error.
Sheffield (4-2) was charged with the loss as he allowed nine runs – seven earned – on seven hits in three innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
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