When the pitcher with the better first inning throws 17 pitches, gives up two hits and two runs, you now it’s going to be a weird day. The guy he was facing, freshman Cam Alldred of Cincinnati, didn’t even last an entire inning. He threw four walks, gave up a run and was taken out after on 2/3rds of the first inning, even though he hadn’t given up a hit. His replacement, A.J Olasz, was solid through the second but gave up a run in the third. Meanwhile, for LSU, Valek III stayed strong after a challenging first by limiting Cincinnati to only two more hits the entire game. One of his biggest challenges in the first three innings was the defense that he had behind him, especially on the left side of the infield. O’Neal Lochridge and Cole Freeman each committed errors, one of which contributing to that two run first inning.
Offensively, the Tigers took a couple innings to get going. Although they scored in the first inning, their first hit didn’t come until the third inning. Once that happened though, something seemed to click. After scoring a run off of a sacrifice fly from designated hitter Bryce Adams they followed it up in the fourth, where O’Neal Lochridge sent a ball into the left field bleachers, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead. Then the floodgates opened. After loading the bases in the fifth, Adams hit a grandslam giving LSU a six run lead. That was followed by a Freeman RBI single, which happened after Olasz was taken out of the game. In the sixth, back to back homeruns by Beaux Jordan and Jordan Romero would add three runs to the Tiger lead, making it 12-4. Through the first six innings Cincinnati used six pitchers, while LSU for the most part just used Valek, who was taken out after giving up a couple of homers well into the sixth. He ended his day with two earned runs, seven strikeouts and only four hits. The LSU Bullpen held up pretty well, even though by the time they entered the game the lead was so big that there wasn’t a whole lot they needed to take care of.
The offensive explosion was good for LSU for two reasons. It gave their young starter room to breathe so he was able to perform without a whole lot of intensity. Secondly, it gave them a chance to work in a couple young arms out of the bullpen without having to throw them into high pressure situations. For the most part, that payed off, with the only reliever who struggled being Doug Lowe II, who only managed to get one out in the ninth. Aside from him Hunter Devall II, Russel Reynolds and Cole McKay all performed well. There were two things to take away from this series. One is that LSU’s pitching has a lot of talent on it. Handling the Bearcat lineup in the way that it did, LSU’s pitching staff showed why it is ranked among the top in the nation. The other thing to be taken away from this weekend is that the lineup might not struggle as much as some think. Although it is true that Cincinnati’s pitching can’t really compare to teams in the SEC, hitting as many homeruns as the Tigers did today and just scoring as well as they did this weekend is a good sign. Putting up more than twenty runs over three games is no small feat. The season opener was a success for the Tigers, who start at perfect and with a good amount of momentum.