For a while, it appeared that Jake Fraley had again lost his hitting touch.
LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri knew that wasn’t true even before Tuesday’s game started.
“I pitched BP to him today pregame,” Mainieri said. “He was locked in.”
Fraley had a career-high three hits — his first multiple hit game in nearly a month — and drove in a career-best three runs in LSU’s 6-0 win over Tulane on Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium.
Fraley, a freshman who struggled with a nasty slump in the fall season, had singles on his first three at-bats, helping stop a skid. He had four hits in his past 27 at-bats entering Tuesday’s game, a streak that dates to LSU’s series loss at Florida.
Starter Kyle Bouman allowed three hits through 4.2 innings in his first outing in more than a week, and relievers Zac Person and Brady Domangue helped their predecessors work out of some sticky jams.
LSU (31-10-1) avenged a 3-2 loss last month to the Green Wave (15-23), and Bouman bounced back from his last outing. He allowed a first-inning grand slam to Arkansas in that series finale a week and a half ago.
He needed some help from Person in this one. Person entered for Bouman in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs. He retired Jake Rogers to end the inning.
Person (2-1) got the win in front of 5,731.
The Tigers got some redemption for an 11-inning loss at Tulane on March 25.
They dinged up Tulane starter Tyler Mapes, the Green Wave’s No. 1 pitcher, for 12 hits, the most he’s given up this season.
“I thought this was maybe our best offensive performance of the year,” Mainieri said, “when you consider the quality of the starting pitcher we went up against and the quality of the at-bats.”
Batting in the No. 5 hole, Alex Bregman had a pair of hits, and Andrew Stevenson and Mark Laird each had an RBI as LSU re-arranged its batting order again.
The Tigers used a third different three-hole hitter for a third straight game. Conner Hale stuck out twice and drew a walk batting third.
Fraley, batting sixth, went 3-for-4 in the Tigers’ 11th win in 13 games, a run that’s vaulted LSU into the Top 10 in all of the major polls.
Fraley’s third-inning pop through the right side of the infield drove in two runs to give LSU an early 3-0 lead. The hit came with two outs and the bases loaded. Tulane walked Bregman to bring up Fraley.
“They kind of pitched around Breg to get to me,” Fraley said. “In my mind, I kind of pissed myself off to get up there. Was looking for a fastball, and he gave it to me.”
The Delaware native had slipped into somewhat of a hitting funk since Mainieri elevated him nearly a month ago into the team’s 10-11 rotation of starting position players.
Fraley entered fall practice having the best chance of any freshman to earn a starting gig, Mainieri had thought. He struggled at the plate during the fall, though, before finding his swing again over Christmas break.
There was no struggle on Tuesday. Fraley even had a diving catch in the fourth inning on a line drive, stealing a hit from Andrew Garner.
“I honestly believe we’re watching the evolution of, maybe, the next great LSU baseball player,” Mainieri said.
Bouman faced the minimum in the first, third and fourth innings. He walked two and hit a batter. Mainieri called his performance “OK,” and was non-committal on the junior college transfer working back into the starting weekend rotation.
Person had some two-out trouble in the sixth.
He issued a two-out walk, then Lex Kaplan’s hard single bounced off third baseman Christian Ibarra. Domangue struck out Barry Buchowski to strand the pair of runners. But Fraley was the star of this one. Afterward, he was signing T-shirt for kids.
“He’s been a sparkplug for us,” Bregman said. “He works really hard. He deserves everything he gets.”