Two years ago, “Duck Dynasty” television star Jase Robertson left the Tigers with a lucky can of corn.
On Saturday against Boston College, Robertson just left LSU with a little motivational speech. Robertson threw out the first pitch prior to the series finale against the Eagles at Alex Box Stadium.
“I give all the credit to Jase Robertson,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “He was the one that motivated us. His pregame talk was outstanding.”
Newman’s great return
LSU sophomore right-hander Hunter Newman hadn’t touched a mound in a Tigers uniform since May 31, 2013, against Jackson State in the first game of the NCAA Regional.
The Bloomingdale, Georgia, native sat out the entire 2014 campaign after suffering a Bennett legion in his right shoulder.
He’s been waiting to toe the rubber since the day of his procedure.
“I’ve been waiting since about this time last year,” Newman said. “It just felt great getting back out there.”
Newman was called in to replace sophomore reliever Russell Reynolds with one out in the top of the seventh inning in Saturday’s 16-2 win against Boston College. He finished off the frame, recording a strikeout and a walk in his scoreless appearance.
“He threw good, I thought,” Mainieri said. “He came in and was sitting at 88 or 89, threw strikes and had a good curveball. I was real happy for him.”
The moment was everything Newman had been waiting for.
“It was exciting,” Newman said. “It’s been too long, but it feels good. It’s always good to get the first one out of the way and get some experience under your belt again.”
LSU freshman starter Jake Godfrey’s second outing had a much different tone than his debut.
Last Sunday against Kansas, Godfrey was plagued by a poor defensive effort and a high pitch count, throwing 87 pitches in 32?3 innings and surrendering three runs (one earned) on two hits.
He rebounded well on Saturday against Boston College, earning his first victory after tossing five innings of one run baseball and allowing only four hits. He also had one strikeout and three walks.
“The first outing was nerves like no other,” Godfrey said. “But this whole week was a complete different feel. Hopefully next week can be the same thing.”
Mainieri will give Godfrey the ball again Friday night, when Princeton comes to Baton Rouge.
“That’s going to be big time,” Godfrey said. “That’s what you dream of, and it’s coming true. So here we go.”
Injury bug bites Tigers
Following LSU’s 16-2 win against the Eagles, Mainieri said junior center fielder Andrew Stevenson “tweaked his hamstring.” Mainieri said he was unsure of what Stevenson’s status would be for Wednesday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana.
Freshman outfielder Beau Jordan also suffered an injury in the top of the ninth, buckling his knee after trying to dodge a collision with senior center fielder Chris Sciambra. After the game, Mainieri said he was unsure of Jordan’s status.
Rookie right-hander Austin Bain is also sidelined after suffering a fever. Bain left Alex Box Stadium after the first game in Friday’s doubleheader. Mainieri also said there is still no set date for freshman southpaw Jake Latz to begin throwing again. Latz suffered an elbow injury before Opening Day.
Byrd makes debut
Heading into Saturday’s game, LSU freshman infielder Grayson Byrd had a feeling he’d get to pick up a bat.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Mainieri told the rookie that he would be pinch-hitting for junior designated hitter Chris Chinea. Byrd slapped his first career hit two innings later on an infield single to shortstop. Freshmen Mike Papierski and Bryce Jordan also had their first career hits in the inning.
“I was pretty fired up,” Byrd said. “I got up there and took a couple of hacks. I was a little late, but that’s all part of it.”
Both Conner Hale and Stevenson have hit safely in all seven games this season. Hale had a single in the bottom of the first, and Stevenson had a triple in the bottom of the second. … With the series ending Saturday, six of 14 regular season series will now end without a Sunday game. LSU will have five SEC series that begin on a Thursday.