Paul Mainieri had an announcement following LSU’s 11-2 trouncing of Lamar on Wednesday night.
When the Tigers travel to Athens, Georgia, to battle the Bulldogs this weekend, LSU’s rotation will have a new Friday night starter.
Freshman right-hander Alex Lange, who leads the Southeastern Conference with a 1.39 ERA, will take the hill in the series opener against Georgia. Lange missed last weekend after experiencing “elbow tightness.”
“I feel it’s the right time,” Mainieri said. “I think Alex is ready for it.”
Mainieri said former Friday night starter Jared Poché could be used out of the bullpen in the first game.
But before the Tigers shifted their focus to Georgia, they had a Lamar squad to handle.
And they certainly handled the Cardinals.
Senior second baseman Jared Foster dug into the batter’s box in the bottom of the first inning with no outs.
He wasn’t the leadoff hitter on Mainieri’s lineup card.
Foster batted eighth against Lamar. By the time he strolled to the plate, the Tigers had already put six runs on the board.
It all began with a leadoff walk by sophomore left fielder Jake Fraley on a 3-2 count.
The contest went downhill from there.
Junior right fielder Mark Laird stepped to the plate in the next at-bat, lacing an RBI single to center field. After junior shortstop Alex Bregman drew a walk, seniors Conner Hale and Kade Scivicque roped back-to-back doubles to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Two batters later, junior first baseman Chris Chinea slammed an RBI double to left-center field to cap off the Tigers’ six-run first inning.
“As an offense, we just kind of wanted to get it going,” junior center fielder Andrew Stevenson said. “It’s about hitting the ball all over the yard.”
The fireworks continued.
Bregman and Chinea both lifted home runs to give the Tigers a 9-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
And when it seemed like LSU had found every possible way to score, sophomore pitcher Collin Strall picked up a bat.
Earlier this season, senior left-hander Kyle Bouman collected an infield single as a pinch-hitter. Strall kept the pitchers perfect at the plate.
He laced an RBI single off the Lamar third baseman’s glove.
“I come out here and hit with Kramer (Robertson) and them every once and a while,” Strall said. “Hitting is probably the hardest thing to do.”
That was plenty of run support for Bouman on the mound.
The Ferguson, Missouri, native had his best outing of the season Wednesday evening, tossing a season-high five innings of one-run baseball, allowing five hits and recording three strikeouts.
Lamar’s lone run off Bouman came in the top of the fifth inning after sophomore center fielder Brendan Satran launched his third home run of the year to left field.
“I just kept the team in the situation to win,” Bouman said. “Any time coach Mainieri calls my name, I just go out and try to get outs and keep this team in a position to score more runs than the other team.”