Junior pitcher Todd Peterson looked like he was going to be the star for LSU against Florida State in game one of the Baton Rouge Super Regional.
Whether it was falling down fielding a ground ball near first or mowing down batters in the box, Peterson did it all, but in the end, walks and home runs were the downfall for LSU in a 6-4 loss to Florida State. LSU’s pitching staff issued 10 walks, three of which scored, and gave up home runs in the seventh and ninth inning.
Peterson came in for freshman starting pitcher Cole Henry after the second inning. After sending Florida State down in order in the first, Henry struggled with his command and velocity in the second and walked the bases before an inning-ending strikeout.
Everything was going great for Cole Henry since his return from elbow soreness which kept him from pitching for over a month. The freshman pit…
It was the last pitch of the day for the freshman who missed over a month with elbow soreness. Henry was removed after walking three and striking out three on 41 pitches.
"It was heartbreaking to have to take Cole Henry out of the game with some arm soreness," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "But Todd Peterson came in and was absolutely heroic. He was phenomenal."
While Peterson kept control of Florida State’s lineup, LSU’s offense began to bring across run. The Tigers were able to get a run in the second and third innings, taking a 2-0 lead early.
LSU had a chance to add more runs in the fourth inning, but a baserunning error by sophomore catcher Saul Garza limited LSU to one run. Garza reached on an error by Florida State and looked like he had a chance to score on a hit down the line by freshman designated hitter Cade Beloso. However, Garza missed the second base bag and was caught in no man’s land between second and third as Beloso rounded first.
Garza reached third but was ruled out at second once Florida State appealed, which also nullified Beloso’s hit into a fielder’s choice. Beloso later scored in the inning to make things 3-0, and LSU added another run in the fifth to extend its lead to 4-0.
Meanwhile, Peterson continued to stymie Florida State’s offense and it didn’t get its first hit of the game until the sixth inning. The Seminoles scratched one across in the inning but that was all, and Peterson returned for the seventh.
“[I wanted] to go as long and deep as I can,” Peterson said. “Help the bullpen and keep them out the game for as long as I could and give it everything I have.”
Mainieri made the decision to pull Peterson after a one-out hit and replace him with sophomore Trent Vietmeier. Vietmeier walked the first batter he saw before giving up a three-run home run to Reese Albert to tie the game.
Peterson’s final line read two runs earned, three hits, three walks and four strikeouts on a career-high 79 pitches in 4.1 innings pitched.
After Vietmeier’s struggles in the eighth, Mainieri turned to sophomore Devin Fontenot, but after he walked a batter and gave up a hit, junior Zack Hess entered. Hess gave up a walk to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly gave Florida State a 5-4 lead.
Albert extended Florida State’s lead with a solo home run off of Hess in the top of the ninth.
LSU tried to get things going in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff single and a wild pitch put senior first baseman Chris Reid in scoring position. Junior center fielder Zach Watson walked with two outs to bring up LSU’s all-time hits leader Antoine Duplantis, but the senior right fielder popped up behind the plate to end the game.
The loss pushes LSU to the brink of elimination. The Tigers will have to win both game two and three if they want to advance to the College World Series in Omaha. Under the new tournament format, LSU has only come back from being down 1-0 in a super regional twice — 2003 against Baylor and 2008 against UC Irvine.
“We’re going to have to win the first one before we win the second one,” said junior shortstop Josh Smith. “It’s been done here before. Not too many guys are too down on themselves because we know we’re going to get another chance to play tomorrow, so we just have to come out forget about today and get on with it.”
LSU and Florida State return to Alex Box Stadium Sunday at 5 p.m. for game two. Freshman Landon Marceaux will take the mound for LSU.