LSU’s offense will likely have nightmares about Ryan Hendrix’s breaking ball.
The Aggies sophomore’s career night began early Friday at Alex Box Stadium. He got LSU senior designated hitter Chris Sciambra to strike out swinging to lead off the bottom of the first inning.
Batter after batter, Hendrix pounded the strike zone. And whenever LSU’s hitters found themselves down in the count, Texas A&M’s right-hander finished them off with one pitch: a breaking ball down and away.
“Give him a lot of credit; he battled,” said LSU junior shortstop Alex Bregman. “He had a pitch that was really on tonight. It was a swing-and-miss slider along with a 94-mph fastball. That’s what you see in the (Southeastern Conference).”
Through six innings, Hendrix displayed an electric arsenal of pitches, recording nine strikeouts. Friday night’s contest was only the third in his college career and his second start of the season.
And then the seventh inning happened.
LSU’s rally kicked off with a leadoff single up the middle by junior first baseman Chris Chinea. Sophomore left fielder Jake Fraley and senior second baseman Jared Foster followed with singles of their own to bring LSU to within two runs.
Then it was Sciambra’s turn to do a little damage.
With runners on the corners and no outs, the Baton Rouge native put down the Tigers’ first squeeze bunt of the year to make it a 5-4 contest.
Hendrix’s night ended one batter later.
“I just think it was the competitiveness and aggressiveness of our hitters late in the game that set the table, and then we were able to come through with hits,” Bregman said.
Bregman found a way to do a little bit of everything in the bottom of the first inning.
It began when he stepped into the batter’s box after Hendrix had recorded two quick outs in the frame. But Bregman appears to be right at home in such a situation.
With no runners on and two outs, the Albuquerque, New Mexico, native was 16-of-28 at the plate entering Friday’s contest. He finished it 17-of-29 after flaring a single to right field.
Bregman followed by stealing his 25th base, tying him with Larry Wright for the ninth-most steals in a season in LSU history. He now has 53 career stolen bases, tying him for No. 8 in program history.
He would come around to score one batter later after Hale shot an RBI single to right field to tie the game at 1.
“I had success in the past stealing bases here, but I didn’t really do it enough,” Bregman said. “You’re going to create stuff offensively (by stealing).”
Some scoring books around Baton Rouge may need to change following Thursday night’s 4-3 walk-off victory for LSU.
Sophomore infielder Danny Zardon’s game-winning single has since been changed to a double. It was his fourth double of the season.
A replay of Saturday’s series finale will air on Sunday at 6 a.m. on ESPNU. … Three Tigers extended their hitting streaks on Friday night: Bregman (eight), Hale (seven) and Foster (five). … Bregman was named to the 2015 Brooks Wallace Award watch list on Friday. The honor is awarded to the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented at the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s Night of Champions on June 29.