Prior to Opening Day, hitting coach Andy Cannizaro said LSU would look to be more aggressive on the base paths in 2015.
Friday night showed that he wasn’t lying.
LSU (8-1) turned to its top three hitters in the lineup to set the tone early and often, stealing its way to a 3-2 victory on Friday night against Princeton (0-1).
In the bottom of the first, LSU took off running.
After going 11-for-12 on stolen base attempts heading into Friday night’s contest, the Tigers initially ran into a little trouble trying to swipe bags against Princeton.
Junior center fielder Mark Laird drew a one-out walk, but he was gunned down trying to steal second base by Princeton senior catcher Tyler Servais. Later in the inning, Servais threw out LSU junior shortstop Alex Bregman trying to steal third base.
But that aggressiveness would prove to be vital two innings later.
Senior right fielder Jared Foster led off the bottom of the third by reaching first base on an error by Princeton sophomore third baseman Cody Phillips. He eventually wound up at third base after a balk and a flyout.
Then sophomore left fielder Jake Fraley took over.
Fraley found himself in the lineup with Foster for the second consecutive night due to junior center fielder Andrew Stevenson’s hamstring injury. He made the most of his opportunity on Thursday night, roping three hits, including a game-winning two-RBI triple.
He kept his momentum flowing into Friday evening, lacing an RBI single to center field to give LSU the 1-0 lead. But he had no intention of setting up shop at first base.
The Middletown, Delaware, native stole second and third base, and after Servais’ throw sailed into left field, Fraley took home, too. LSU jumped out to a 3-1 lead with its veteran starter on the mound.
That being said, sophomore southpaw had two early hiccups.
Princeton picked up its first run after sophomore first baseman Zack Belski roped an RBI single to center field. Two innings later, junior shortstop Billy Arendt launched a solo home run over the left field wall, narrowing LSU’s lead to 3-2.
Poche lasted 6.2 innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs and one walk while striking out five. He also had one wild pitch. Sophomore right-hander Alden Cartwright relieved Poche’ in the top of the seventh inning with two runners in scoring position, but he escaped the jam and preserved the Tigers’ 3-2 lead.
Senior left-hander Zac Person rebounded after allowing a bases-loaded walk on Thursday night against Southeastern Louisiana University, pitching a scoreless eighth inning despite an error by sophomore third baseman Danny Zardon.
Redshirt freshman closer Jesse Stallings remained perfect in the ninth inning, collecting his fifth save of the season and securing the Tigers’ 3-2 victory.
The Tigers will play a doubleheader on Saturday due to inclement weather conditions expected on Sunday. Game 1 will begin at 4 p.m., and Game 2 will follow 45 minutes after the first game concludes.