It wasn’t the prettiest game for the Tigers against in-state opponent Nicholls State on Tuesday night in Alex Box Stadium, but LSU coach Paul Mainieri will take the win.
“I think the best thing we can say about tonight is that it’s over, and we got it in the win column,” Mainieri said.
LSU (15-2) defeated Nicholls State (8-9), 5-3, despite finishing on the lower end of the hit column. The Tigers had only five hits in the game, compared to eight by the visitors.
Two of the Tigers’ hits came in the second inning, when freshman second baseman Kramer Robertson and junior left fielder Jared Foster both drove in one run apiece to help LSU build a 3-1 lead after the second inning.
But that was where the bats fell silent. The Tigers couldn’t get a hold on Nicholls State left-hander Mike Hanchar, and LSU went the next four innings without scoring a run, including a string of seven consecutive pop outs.
The Tigers didn’t hit or score again until both senior designated hitter Sean McMullen and sophomore shortstop Alex Bregman hit RBI singles in the seventh inning for the final runs of the night.
“[Hanchar] was painting the top of the zone, and I guess we kind of got underneath some,” Foster said.
But Hanchar (0-1) lost the pitching duel to junior right-hander Brady Domangue (2-0), who was coming off of a victory against Sacred Heart on March 5. The junior college transfer gave up two runs on five hits in five innings of work for the Tigers.
But the game got off to a rocky start for Domangue, who acknowledged he was battling some nerves. He gave up one run, two hits and committed an error in the first inning before finding his rhythm.
“In the beginning, I think I was a little tense, especially facing a team that I know well,” Domangue said. “A bunch of those guys I played [with] growing up, so in the beginning I was a little tense. But in the end, I loosened up.”
Domangue pitched four more innings after the shaky start, and he surrendered only one more run during that span before the bullpen took over for the Tigers, which was perhaps the one area of the game that pleased Mainieri.
“I thought a couple of guys coming out of the bullpen were really key for us,” Mainieri said. “I thought Zac Person looked outstanding tonight. He was really on. I thought Kurt McCune did a nice job. I thought Joe Broussard made some big pitches. He fell behind a couple of counts, but then he threw strikes when he needed to.”
The bullpen took over in the top of the sixth inning, with Person being the first reliever called into action. He pitched the sixth and had two strikeouts with no hits, and McCune followed him with a hitless inning of his own in the seventh.
Broussard closed the night for LSU, retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth to pick up his third save of the season.