LSU defeats University of New Orleans

LSU sophomore pitcher Cole Henry (18) throws the ball during the Tigers' 4-3 victory over the University of New Orleans in Alex Box Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

LSU defeated the University of New Orleans 4-3 in Sunday’s winning exhibition scrimmage.

The pitching staff for the Tigers is looking to have a promising 2020 season after injuries harmed their season last year.

After injuries to the pitching staff, LSU failed to reach its fullest potential during the 2019 baseball season, the Tigers are looking to keep a healthy staff moving forward.

Sophomore pitchers Cole Henry, Landon Marceaux and AJ Labas are among the group of Tigers held back due to injuries. The Tigers are hoping to develop Marceaux and Henry into aces they have the potential to be.

“Marceaux has had a really good fall,” said coach Paul Mainieri. “Cole has been the one who has been behind the other two so it was really good to see him have a good, crisp over powering inning like he did.”

Henry, who was the Friday night starter for the LSU’s pitching staff for the duration of the season after Zack Hess was moved to the bullpen, finished with a 4-2 record and a 3.39 earned run average. He was held back due to elbow pain, which limited his action.

Marceaux, the freshman phenom, moved from the weekend rotation to a midweek roll after inconsistency with command and arm soreness. After a shaky start, Marceaux finished the season with a 5-2 record and a 4.66 ERA.

Both Marceaux and Henry pitched an inning during Sunday’s scrimmage, and neither allowed a runner on base. Henry’s fastball velocity is up to around 95 mph, Marceaux struck out the side.

Labas, who missed the 2019 season because of shoulder surgery, also had an inning of work and pitched himself out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning after sophomore center fielder Giovanni DiGiacomo made a great break on a fly ball that was placed in no-man’s land.

“I would have loved to see AJ Labas be a lot more crisp like he has been all fall,” Mainieri said. “We are going to need contributions from a lot of guys on the mound. I think we have a chance to have a pretty good pitching staff.”

Gavin Dugas, sophomore from Houma, Louisiana. was also among the group of Tigers who got hit with the injury bug last year and is looking to have a bounce-back season. After losing prominent players from the 2019 squad like Josh Smith and Zach Watson, Dugas hopes to have a big impact in his sophomore campaign. Dugas is also in switching from the infield to the outfield.

“It’s definitely a big jump forward,” said Dugas. “I feel so much more comfortable this year.”

Dugas started out swinging a hot bat for the Tigers, as he smashed a two-run homerun over the left field bleachers and out the stadium to extend the LSU lead to 3-0.

Drew Bianco, another part of the Tigers No. 1 recruiting class from 2018, is looking to get his bat moving this season. Bianco hit a double down the third base line in the bottom of the seventh inning.

LSU opens its 2020 regular season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, against Indiana at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

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