The LSU bats went cold for most of the day, but when it mattered most, freshman first baseman Cade Beloso hit a 3-run walk-off home run to win 6-5 on Saturday.
Beloso said he felt like he was seeing the ball really well all game long and noticed Army pitcher Sam Messina was throwing his change up to lefties. Beloso picked up the first pitch and drilled it over the right field fence.
"I blacked out to be honest," Beloso said. "I don’t really remember much. I remember seeing the umpire’s hand twirling and I got the goosebumps. I just looked at all my teams at home plate, and I just started smiling and getting excited."
LSU (2-0) jumped out to a quick 2-0 after junior shortstop Josh Smith’s leadoff single was followed by a sacrifice bunt by senior second baseman Brandt Broussard. Army pitcher Daniel Burggraaf missed the throw to first, allowing Smith to score and Broussard to reach third. Broussard scored on a sacrifice fly by senior right fielder Antoine Duplantis for his seventh RBI through two games.
Much talked about freshman pitcher Landon Marceaux made his LSU debut after turning down the MLB last summer. He went 5.2 innings, giving one run on two hits and three walks while striking out five.
Marceaux found himself in trouble in the top of the fourth after a fielding error by Broussard led to two runners in scoring position with two outs. The freshman from Destrehan, Louisiana, responded by striking out Josh White to close the inning.
Army finally got to Marceaux in the sixth. After a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt moved a man into scoring position, Army’s Drake Titus drove in the first run of the game for the Black Knights with a single up the middle to center field.
Fellow freshman Chase Costello came in for Marceaux to end the inning but Costello struggled to open the seventh. Costello gave up a leadoff single, which turned into a run after a sacrifice bunt and a walk was followed up by an RBI single to tie the game. After a walk loaded the bases, Costello appeared to hit Titus with a pitch on a 3-2 count, but the umpire ruled Titus made no attempt to get out the way, resulting in a strike.
Mainieri called on sophomore Trent Vietmeier for the last out, but Anthony Giachin hit a base-clearing double to give Army a 5-2 lead. Costello’s final line read four earned runs on two hits and two walks with one strikeout in one inning.
After adding a run in the seventh, LSU looked to be in position to add more in the eighth after back-to-back singles by Smith and Broussard to open the inning. However, Duplantis grounded into a double play and sophomore left fielder Daniel Cabrera popped up to end the inning.
The bottom of LSU’s lineup struggled on Saturday, combining for one hit and one walk in 14 at-bats prior to the ninth inning. Then back-to-back walks by junior center fielder Zach Watson and freshman outfielder Giovanni DiGiacomo set up Beloso for the walk off.
Junior reliever Todd Peterson earned the win for LSU after coming in the ninth inning.
"These last two nights have been amazing," Beloso said. "This place is truly special and when these people get rocking it’s crazy. The box is real. The energy it brings is electrifying, and I’m so glad to be able to play here in front of all these people and amazing coaches.
"It feels amazing. It’s like a dream come true."