This time, Conner Hale made up for another goofed hit-and-run.
Hale, the Tigers first/second baseman, swung and missed during a called hit-and-run, and as a result, Jake Fraley was caught stealing third base in the third inning of LSU’s game against Houston on Saturday night.
No problem. Minutes later, Hale knocked a two-out line-drive single to shallow right field to drive in Sean McMullen from second base, giving LSU a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers won 5-1.
Hale had RBI singles in his first two at-bats. His single up the middle in the second inning drove in LSU’s first run of the game.
Hale whiffed on a hit-and-run in the rubber match at Texas A&M three weeks ago, when he swung and missed at a hittable pitch at a key situation. With LSU down one in that A&M game, Chris Sciambra had led off the ninth inning with a single.
Hale then swung and miss, and Sciambra was thrown out at second base. Hale followed it with a swinging strikeout.
It was a different result Saturday.
“I was unable to get the hit and run done,” Hale said. “I was trying to get that run in as much as I could.”
Going with Kramer
Coach Paul Mainieri chose defense over power. And, oh boy, didn’t Kramer Robertson come through.
Robertson got just his third start in the last 14 games Friday, pushing Kade Scivicque out of the starting group. Scivicque had started five of the past six games, holding a five-game hitting streak. Robertson, a speedy second baseman who’s capable of making game-changing defensive plays, entered the game batting .206.
On Saturday, Robertson recorded five assists on ground balls through five innings and made a sliding grab to his knees in the fifth.
He made the throw to first in time while on his knees.
Mainieri has recently played Tyler Moore at first base and Hale at second.
With Robertson in the lineup, Hale moved to first, and Moore caught. Moore is the personal catcher of ace Aaron Nola.
Roberson on fire
Southeastern Louisiana first baseman Sam Roberson continued his hot hitting in the Baton Rouge regional. The junior from Dallas went 2 for 3 on Saturday in the 2-1 victory over Bryant University.
He drove in what proved to be the winning run for the Lions with a sacrifice fly to center field in the 10th inning. Roberson was 2 for 4 on Friday in an 8-4 loss to LSU, including a two-run home run. He is now 4-for-7 in the regional. Not bad for a guy who bats in the No. 6 hole in the Lions’ batting order. In fact, the bottom of the order has done well for Matt Riser’s team. The Nos. 6-9 spots in the order are now 11 for 20 in the regional. No. 9 hitter Jacob Williams is 3 for 7.
Bryant University was making its second straight regional appearance. But unlike last season, the Bulldogs were unable to win. The Bulldogs from the Rhode Island school beat Arkansas in the Manhattan (Kansas) regional last season before losing their next two games.
“We were the only New England team that’s playing in the tournament,” Bryant coach Steve Owens said. “We were really hoping to show what type of team we were on a national stage. I feel we did that. This is only our second team eligible as a Division I program, and we have already played five NCAA tournament games. We were a 3 seed two years in a row, which I think shows some respect in our program. It’s nice to come to a nice venue like this.”
LSU and Houston met for the 42nd time. The Cougars lead the series 23-19. The teams had last met in 2006, a three-game series in which the Tigers won. … McMullen led off the second inning with a double to extend his hitting streak to six games. He scored moments later on Hale’s RBI single up the middle. ... Christian Ibarra had his first multi-hit game since April 25.