While the sting of getting swept by non-conference rival Texas a week ago still lingers for LSU, the Tigers faced California this weekend in hopes to get a series win and get the Tigers back on track of where they want to be.
Due to impending inclement weather on Sunday, the Tigers played two seven-inning games on Saturday to take place of the Sunday game. LSU split Saturday’s games against the Golden Bears.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Cole Henry made his first career weekend start for the Tigers, pitching a scoreless four innings and only allowing two hits. While pitching, Henry allowed no runs and only gave up two hits.
After four innings, Henry was taken out due to tightness in his back, according to coach Paul Mainieri. As the Tigers and Golden Bears continued an offensively slow game, at the top of the fifth inning, sophomore catcher Brock Mathis hit a solo home run, making it his third of his career.
The Tigers lead 1-0 after five innings, but it didn’t last.
To start the sixth inning, junior right hander Todd Peterson was given the ball.
The Golden Bears jumped on top of Peterson, exploding for five runs in top of the sixth. The Tigers scored one more run in the bottom of the sixth as junior shortstop Josh Smith hit a solo homer.
The Tigers were not able to do anything else offensively, and dropped game two of the series to Cal, 5-2. Peterson took the loss as the Tigers fell to 10-4 on the season.
Things turned around for LSU in the second game of the day and final game of the series.
With the series on the line, the Tigers started game three by giving the ball to sophomore right hander Eric Walker. The Tigers stuck first in the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run from senior infielder Chris Reid. Reid’s second home run of his career gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
“‘We had been talking about this plan for a while now and I finally executed it. It took a while, but I did it,” Reid said. “Once I hit it, I knew it was gone, so I took off running because you never know.”
After cruising to start the game, Walker struggled as he got to the third inning, giving up four runs to give the Golden Bears a 4-1 lead over the Tigers after four innings.
Walker was then replaced with sophomore right-handed pitcher Devin Fontenot.
In the bottom of the fourth, freshman Cade Beloso hit a solo home run to cut Cal’s lead to 4-2.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Tigers added one more run from a RBI double from Zach Watson. It was LSU’s first run of the day that didn’t come off a solo home run.
Cal still held a lead, 4-3, after five innings, but the Tigers didn’t stop pounding.
During the bottom of the sixth inning, Reid hit another a single, and freshman first baseman Cade Beloso hit his second home run of the game, putting the Tigers ahead of Cal 5-4.
The Tigers’ defense held strong in the seventh inning to defeat the Golden Bears 5-4, giving them the series win. Fontenot got the win on the mound.
“Everyone kept telling me that I need to be better, and I knew I needed to be better,” Fontenot said. “So today was my time to do that.”