For most players, it can be easy for the first-game jitters to take over. With the combination of the big stage, bright lights and being in front of upwards of 11,000 fans, you would think that would be enough to rattle a player but none of that came close to phasing freshman Cade Doughty.
Doughty has embraced the feeling of being able to represent his home state. But his dreams expand far more than that as he wants to do more than just wear the Purple and Gold.
“Growing up being an LSU fan, you dream of moments like this,” Doughty said with a smile. “I was kinda nervous before the game but I got comfortable when I got up to the plate.”
Prior to opening night at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field, Doughty emphasized that he has a lot to prove as a freshman.
For the Denham Springs native, his night could not have been scripted better. Doughty came to Baton Rouge with something to prove and he did just that. Coming out of high school, Doughty was considered one of the best products in the country and he wanted to live up to the hype. In his first collegiate plate appearance as a Tiger, he showed exactly why as he blasted a two-run homer to left field to put the Tigers on top.
“I just kinda went numb. If I could picture the perfect at-bat that would be it.” Doughty explained. “I just screamed really loud when I rounded first.”
Despite not hitting a homerun in all of the fall, Doughty became the first LSU player to hit a homerun in his first at-bat as a Tiger since Beau Didier in 2009. The second baseman reached base in three of his four plate appearances.
Saul Garza followed after his freshman teammate as the junior picked up right where he left off last season as he smashed a three-run homer in the third to blow the game wide-open. Garza not only provided a spark with his bat but also from behind the plate as he gunned down a man at second.
Daniel Cabrera showed a quick glimpse into why he was picked to wear the coveted No. 8 jersey for the Tigers this season. The All-American and Baton Rouge product finished the night 2-3 at the plate with a double and a run scored to his credit.
Zack Mathis and Alex Milazzo both got their first hits in their LSU career.
“I just thought we played a really fantastic game,” said coach Paul Mainieri. “What a super way to start the season.”
The Tigers will return to action Saturday Feb. 15 where they will play a doubleheader against Indiana with the first game starting at 1 p.m. CT. The second game will begin an hour after the conclusion of the first game.