LSU took early control of their opening day game against Air Force and stayed collected as the day carried on. Riding their strong pitching and timely, diverse ways to plate runs, they defeated the Falcons 6-1 on Saturday afternoon to begin their season 1-0.
In the first inning, a Will Hellmers throwing error put Jaden Hill’s first runner on, but Hill responded with three straight strikeouts with a nice mix of fastballs and breaking balls to keep Air Force hitters guessing. In the bottom of the inning, Air Force starter Stevan Fairburn Jr. walked three and hit one to plate an LSU run early. Hill would go on to pitch four innings, giving up just three hits and no runs with five strikeouts. He would also earn the win for the day.
LSU’s offense stalled a bit throughout the day, but Giovanni DiGiacomo came through in the fifth inning with an RBI single to extend LSU's lead to 2-0. Next inning, it was Tre’ Morgan who delivered for the Tigers to score another run. Morgan followed up that clutch hit with an acrobatic grab as he sprawled out over the LSU dugout to get an out in the top of the seventh.
An RBI sacrifice fly by Cade Doughty in the bottom of the seventh put LSU up 4-0. LSU had a hard time putting together big innings, instead gradually adding these runs in small doses each inning. Air Force gave them 11 walks to work with, and while stranding 15 runners, LSU took advantage of the opportunities when it was needed.
Finally, Zach Arnold put the final nail in Air Force’s coffin with a monster two-run home run to push LSU’s lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Dylan Crews had a great debut, going 2-4 at the top of the order. He also had a walk to get his on-base percentage off to a good start.
LSU’s pitchers were dominant all day long. Nice outings from Garrett Edwards, Matthew Beck, Alex Brady and Aaron George followed up Hill’s impressive start to combine for just two hits and the one run for Air Force. Devin Fontenot came in at the end to finish off the Falcons, picking up two strikeouts in his closer role. The Tiger pitching staff tallied 14 total strikeouts on the day, with just one walk.
The Tigers play Air Force again tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Landon Marceaux will get the start. They will finish up the extended weekend with a 6:30 p.m. match against Louisiana Tech Monday night.